Major review uncovers workplace discrimination and harassment at Save the Children

A major review has found that more than a quarter (28 per cent) of people working for prominent charity Save the Children have encountered discrimination or harassment at work.

The far-reaching review into workplace culture at the not-for-profit organisation, which was first launched in February, has revealed that staff have suffered “gender harassment and unwanted sexual attention,” as well as “unwelcome touching in areas such as the waist,” and “disparaging comments.”

Further to the publication of the findings, the charity has said that it will work with its staff to tackle “workplace incivility,” by reviewing its organisational structure and operations.

The independent review, which was initially launched in the wake of shocking revelations regarding Save the Children’s handling of sexual misconduct claims against two former employees in previous years, was carried out by organisational ethics expert, Suzanne Shale.

It included a survey of the charity’s workforce – in which 68 per cent of all of the organisation’s employees took part.

Despite the worrying findings in terms of discrimination and harassment, 91 per cent of respondents told the survey that they took pride in their work for Save the Children, while 89 per cent said that their colleagues were supportive.

However, commentators have said that the fact 28 per cent of staff feel they have been a victim of discrimination or harassment indicates that levels of such behaviour at Save the Children are similar to those in organisations such as the NHS – a very worrying finding indeed.

The review has laid out five recommendations as to how Save the Children can improve. These are:

  • It should work collaboratively with staff on a comprehensive plan to reform the organisation.
  • It must increase support for staff to reduce “workplace incivility”.
  • It needs to increase diversity across the charity’s workforce and board.
  • It should review its whistleblowing arrangements.
  • It needs to ensure that its HR department is properly equipped.

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