Report says UK lawmakers’ staff face bullying, harassment

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FILE – In this Thursday, July 26, 2007 file photo, a general view of the Houses of Parliament on the river Thames in London. A lawyer’s investigation has found that staff working for British lawmakers face “an unacceptable risk of bullying and harassment,” and some have suffered sexual and physical assaults. Lawyer Gemma White says on Thursday, July 11, 2019 some staff working for lawmakers reported misconduct including “unwelcome sexual advances” and “very serious sexual assault,” while others said they’d had had heavy pieces of office equipment thrown at them by employers.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

LONDON (AP) — A lawyer’s investigation has found that staff working for British lawmakers face “an unacceptable risk of bullying and harassment,” and some have suffered sexual and physical assaults.

Barrister Gemma White says some lawmakers’ employees reported misconduct including “unwelcome sexual advances” and “very serious sexual assault,” while others said they’d had had heavy pieces of office equipment thrown at them.

She said staff rarely complained, viewing it as “career suicide.”

White said Thursday that House of Commons authorities hadn’t taken enough steps to protect employees. She said “the problem of bullying and harassment is sufficiently widespread to require an urgent collective response.”

The investigation was ordered by House of Commons authorities last year after a report alleged that bullying and sexual harassment had been “tolerated and concealed.”

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