We were surprised both by the number of people who had experienced sexual harassment, and by just how bad it was.
For example, instructors have experienced having a client masturbate in their booth, having a client touch or attempt to touch them, being repeatedly propositioned and made to feel extremely uncomfortable, and in one case, being followed home. As a result the union has already had negotiations with Gaba over the issue, and is in the process of taking the issue further.
In addition to the harassment itself, the reaction of the company has not been adequate. Instructors have often not been supported, have been told they should be grateful to have a lesson at all, or have even been blamed for what had happened to them. Gaba itself has a sexual harassment officer, but does not allow instructors to contact them, saying that only Gaba staff are permitted to.
The Gaba union also felt the issue was so prevalent that we have appointed Katie and Adrian as sexual harassment officers to be a point of contact for members who have experienced sexual harassment.
- Being available to listen to those with complaints
- Providing information for counselling, if desired
- Collating data if a grievance is to be lodged against a company
- Acting as a liaison between the member with the complaint, and the case officer, if necessary
- Demanding that Gaba develops appropriate steps and policies when dealing with sexual harassment
Anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, either by students or colleagues, are welcome to contact us if they would like to discuss the matter with a neutral party. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email Katie or Adrian.
April 20, 2014