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Sexual harassment was on the agenda of a plenary parliamentary session held on 12 December, 2017.
Sexual harassment was on the agenda of a plenary parliamentary session held on 12 December, 2017.

 

Six people say they have been sexually harassed at work in the Finnish Parliament, finds a job satisfaction survey conducted by the Parliamentary Office.

Three civil servants and three parliamentary assistants indicated in their responses that they have been subjected to sexual harassment, such as suggestive or otherwise inappropriate remarks, unwanted physical contact and unpleasant glances, at the workplace.

The results confirm that the incidence of sexual harassment has remained roughly at the level of 2015 and 2013, when the previous job satisfaction surveys were conducted, according to the Parliamentary Office. The Parliament, as a result, has yet to deliver on its promise to adopt a zero tolerance on sexual harassment.

YLE conducted a similar survey late last year and reported that over one-tenth of parliamentary assistants have experienced sexual harassment at work over the past two years.

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Assistants Without Borders (AIR), a network of parliamentary assistants, responded to the survey results by voicing its dissatisfaction with the attempts to eradicate the phenomenon. It also proposed that sanctions be imposed on those who have been guilty of harassment, as it is impossible to issue a warning or lay off publicly elected representatives.

Sarianna Mankki and Heini Rask of AIR told Uusi Suomi that they were surprised at the prevalence of sexual harassment at the Parliament.

“We’ve naturally been aware that harassment is taking place,” they added.

“The Parliamentary Office, however, has been reluctant to intervene in harassment if the victims were unwilling to speak publicly with their own names and faces. There are plenty of other means to weed out harassment, such as communicating the zero-tolerance policy and training superior staff members, but these haven’t been used,” they said.

Pertti Rauhio, the director of administration at the Finnish Parliament, rejected most of the accusations.

The Parliamentary Office’s job satisfaction survey also found that the civil servants and parliamentary assistants are generally more satisfied with their jobs than their colleagues in other sectors of the central administration. The respondents were particularly satisfied with the nature of their jobs and their possibilities to make an impact.

Wages, on the other hand, were identified as the aspect with the most room for improvement.

The survey was conducted last autumn. It was responded to by over a half (53%) of the 562 civil servants and parliamentary assistants employed by the Parliamentary Office.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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