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Sexual harassment
Over the past year, BAJR has been made aware of two or three cases of what is blatantly sexual harassmentand has advised either the person or teh persons representative to contact the police and/or go to Citizens Advice to get specialist help and advice - I am just not qualified to provide adequate help in this case.

However, as I am aware of responsibilities, and with the consent of one person, I feel it is my duty to make people aware of the situation -and what you can and should do.

Often younger females find themselves in situations that they are unable to control - such as being on an away site in a house with no locks on doors or mixed occupants - here the company should consider accommodation that is suitable for purpose! In other situations the director or responsible archaeologist may make "unwelcome advances" and "lewd comments" which you as a female feel unable to reply to given that you "want to keep your job". This can escalate - it is rare, but it should be better prepared than not at all.

The British Woman's Archaeologist group would agree and would be a good start if you want to talk off the record.


What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination.The legal definition of sexual harassment is “unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment.”

Unwelcome Conduct
is not sexual harassment if it is perceived as 'welcome' - as in unchallenged. For this reason, it is important to communicate (either verbally, in writing, or by your own actions) to the harasser that the conduct makes you uncomfortable and that you want it to stop - and this is done with the knowledge of others, who may act as witnesses. This does not mean you have to shout or get angry, just make it clear, as calmly as you can that you don't like what is being done or said. Often it can be the way of archaeologists that making rude comments is "part of the banter" of the site hut that may be so BUT consider how others feel? How responsible are you in making others feel threatened or uncomfortable?

What is conduct Of A Sexual Nature ?
Many different kinds of conduct—verbal, visual or physical—that is of a sexual nature may be sexual harassment, if the behaviour is unwelcome and if it is severe or pervasive.

Here are some more examples:
Verbal or written: Comments about clothing, personal behaviour, or a person’s body; sexual or sex-based jokes; requesting sexual favours or repeatedly asking a person out; sexual innuendoes; telling rumours about a person’s personal or sexual life; threatening a person about keeping their job or how they could "help" the career
Physical: Assault; impeding or blocking movement; inappropriate touching of a person or a person’s clothing; kissing, hugging, patting, stroking, 'helping' them home, getting them drunk and holding on to them
Nonverbal: Looking up and down a person’s body; derogatory gestures or facial expressions of a sexual nature; following a person

What can I do?
When you are deciding what to do, remember that every situation is different.There is no one best thing to do. You should always report the sexual harassment to your employer in writing - even if the employer or even a relative of the employer is the one carrying out the har[SIZE=2]assment. You then have the option to use the company’s sexual harassment complaint process[/SIZE] - it should have one.

Say “No” Clearly
Tell the person that his/her behavior offends you. Firmly refuse all invitations.If the harassment doesn’t end promptly, write a letter asking the harasser to stop and keep a copy.

Write Down What Happened
As soon as you experience the sexual harassment, start writing it down.Write down dates, places, times, and possible witnesses to what happened.If possible, ask your co-workers to write down what they saw or heard, especially if the same thing is happening to them.Remember that others may (and probably will) read this written record at some point. It is a good idea to keep the record at home or in some other safe place.Do not keep the record at work.

ACAS has a leaflet on Bullying and harassment

The Employment Tribunals Commission and your local Citizen's Advice Bureau can offer you excellent guidance and advice about this type of complaint.

If you become dissatisfied with your employer's handling of your complaint, you have the right to take the matter to an Employment Tribunal which will decide if your employer dealt with your allegations in a reasonable manner.

This is where the details, and written record will come in useful.
Don't forget, in extreme cases, if the harasser physically touches you on an intimate part of your body then you can bypass all of the above reports, complaints and report them directly to the Police for indecent assault.

Remember that you will probably not be the first or the last that this abuser has targeted. by collecting information of who, when, witness etc, then if it is a repeat offender, then many voices will be able to bring the offender to the attention of teh police.

Nobody has a right to abuse - BAJR promises to stand with you.

If you want to come forward and report harassment, then you can get help.

Just stay safe. Stay aware, and say NO!

We all have a duty to keep archaeology free of sexual harassment.
One I have come across is certain members of staff taking pictures of the female members of the team (and only the female members). I have seen this on several separate unrelated jobs. I would consider it impolite to take pictures without someones permission and actually think that this permission should be in writting. I presume this could be regarded as sexual harassment but how would you prove the intent? The young ladies concerned did not seem to worry about it but I considered it inappropriate beheaviour. And of course it works both ways. (This was some time ago)
Is there any guidance out there for lime managers of staff who are (or who one thinks might be) being subjected to harassment?

so far, I suspect that this is something that needs to be formalised...
The answer in the first instance is for employer's to have an Equal Opportunities policy that states what might be construed as harassment and the procedures to be followed where an employee believes they have been subjected to harassment. This makes sense for both employees and employers as under UK law, the employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring that employees can go about their business without this kind of behaviour. Trade unions can advise on how to draft and implement Equal Opportunities policies.....the internet has plenty of examples of draft policies that can be downloaded and adapted for archaeological purposes.....Google 'Equal Opportunites policy'.....The relevant UK law is the Equality Act 2010 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 if you want to check chapter and verse......

......when I was a union branch secretary back in the 90s, I helped employees follow a number of these cases through the Local Government complaints system, at least one of which resulted in dismissal for the harasser. It does leave a raw taste however that anyone in archaeology in 2013, could behave in such a fashion........
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Could I also add. If the archaeological employer is an IfA Registered organisation they may be in breach of the IfA code of conduct section 5.3, if they don't have an Equal Opportunities policy and can't demonstrate a regard to procedures that allow an employee to make a complaint against harassment.

So that might be another avenue, if your employer won't listen or instigate an EO policy, complain to the IfA.....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Join a union. Your rep will help.
I think that it can often be difficult when discussing the issue of sexual harassment as it covers such a wide range of problems. As highlighted in David's initial post there have been reported incidents where the advice given is to go to the police so I am assuming that an actual assault or attempted assault has taken place - in instances that are this serious I don't think that it is as simple as just following the practical advice given above.

As a woman, particularly when you are just starting out in your career, you are incredibly vulnerable and may find it difficult to walk the line between banter and feeling uncomfortable but afraid to speak up for fear of not fitting in, being seen as a "prude" etc. Often light can be made if there is either an individual on site or a mutual acquaintance who making people (particualy the women) very uncomfortable or even afraid to be around them. I have been on a site where such a person was described "as a bit rapey" and a huge joke was made of how lecherous someone was then a list of their misdemeanors reeled off as if it were a great joke or some sort of carry-on film!!!

But this isn't a joke - put yourself in the position of a new graduate, tough job market, incredibly grateful to have work, desperate to get enough experience to find work elsewhere and they are being harassed at work. If it is a person in power, or even just someone well established within the company that is making inappropriate comments, advances or making unwelcome sexual advances or even sexually abusing the person there are a complex series of emotions which all may prevent an individual speaking out. Couple this with the fact you are isolated - working away from home and often will not know anyone apart from your workmates who you also live with and who may also be your abuser! It is not as simple as following the steps and often the outcome of this type of abuse can be lack of self esteem, questioning what they may have done, blaming themselves, fear and depression.

Are the British Women Archaeologist's able to act as a confidential go between and gather information to help women at risk compile a dossier and give advice and support if and when people experiencing these difficulties feel that they wish to take the matter further - either to their immediate superior, company head or the police?

A list of rape and sexual assault helplines can be found at
I was a victim of this (by a female) and have never been offered work with the company since despite doing an exemplary piece of work for them....
Thanks for airing this discussion. I share Kevin's dismay that such problems still occur, but know that they do. I've been doing a bullying and harrassment induction briefing for staff at the beginning of fieldwork projects, making clear that we take the problem seriously, will not tolerate such behaviour, and making sure that they know who to contact in case of problems - Prospect members can talk to our TU or Equal Opps rep, for example. Trowelfodder also makes some very good points - it can be a thin line between banter and bullying or harrassment, and we need to be aware of the impact that this can have on our colleagues.

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