Home Europe Over 550 EU Parliament staffers have faced harassment at work, new survey finds

Over 550 EU Parliament staffers have faced harassment at work, new survey finds

by editor

A new survey shows that more than 550 European Parliament staffers — nearly half of respondents — say they’ve been psychologically harassed at work.

The anonymous survey, carried out by campaign group MeTooEP, asked 1,135 people between June and August 2023 about their experiences of harassment in the workplace. Eight MEPs responded to the survey — six of whom said they had experienced harassment.

Nearly half of those surveyed (49.6 percent) said they had experienced psychological harassment at work, while 15.5 percent said they had experienced sexual harassment and 8.1 percent faced physical harassment.

“These numbers are simply too high,” said Vlada Polisadova, a parliamentary assistant and a volunteer with MeTooEP, which combats sexual harassment and seeks to improve working conditions in the European Parliament. “The amount of persons that have witnessed or experienced harassment is too high.”

The survey also found that 42.4 percent of people had witnessed some form of harassment in the workplace.

Many respondents said they did not officially report the abuse, citing as reasons “[the] harasser was more powerful,” “lack of trust,” “fear of repercussion” and “unclear reporting procedure.”

Those who did raise the issue within the Parliament reported most often that no action was taken; that they were not taken seriously; or that they were punished by their superior. Not a single person chose the survey response “someone talked to the harasser to change behavior.”

Many reported subsequently being moved to a different job, while some were encouraged to leave the Parliament altogether.

“As this Parliament reaches its end and you look towards the next one, it is important to engage even more actively with men as you try to develop a workplace culture of respect and safety, and one free from fear, a culture that subsequently broadens out into wider society,” said EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly.

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