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Workplace Harassment Hits One in Five - UN

FILE: Image of Nairobi skyline. Taken September 9, 2015
FILE: Image of Nairobi skyline. Taken September 9, 2015

More than one in five people in employment worldwide have experienced some form of workplace harassment or violence, according to a survey released by the United Nations on Monday.

"Violence and harassment at work is a widespread phenomenon around the world," the UN's International Labour Organization said following a joint study by the ILO, Lloyd's Register Foundation and pollsters Gallup.

The survey was a first attempt to produce a global overview of the magnitude and frequency of the problem, and the barriers that prevent people from talking about it.

It found that 22.8 percent -- which would amount to 743 million people in employment -- have experienced "at least one form of violence and harassment at work during their working life", according to data collected last year.

Nearly a third of victims (31.8 percent) said they had been subjected to more than one form of violence and harassment, and 6.3 percent had experienced it in all three forms -- physical, psychological and sexual -- during their working life.

The survey was mainly conducted by telephone and the questions were formulated so they could be understood by as many people as possible.

The study found that the perception of what constitutes violence or harassment is not the same around the world: in some places, pushing someone could be seen as rude behaviour, but nothing further than that.

Psychological violence and harassment at work was found to be the most common, with 17.9 percent, or 583 million people experiencing it in their working life.

The survey found that 8.5 percent (which would amount to 277 million people) had experienced physical violence and harassment.

While women are more likely to have suffered psychological violence, men are more often the victims of physical violence, the study found.


Violence and harassment of a sexual nature has affected 6.3 percent -- approximately one person in every 15 in employment -- with women "particularly exposed", the ILO said.

Of the three forms of violence and harassment, it has the biggest gender gap: more than eight percent of women are victims, compared to five percent among men.

"Young women were twice as likely as young men to have experienced sexual violence and harassment," the ILO added.

The study found that people who have experienced discrimination on the basis of gender, disability status, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour or religion in their lives were also more likely to have experienced violence and harassment at work.

Youth, migrant, and wage and salaried workers were more likely to face violence and harassment at work, particularly women, the study found.

The survey found that violence and harassment at work could be recurrent and persistent: more than three in five victims said it had happened to them multiple times.

It also found there were several barriers preventing people from disclosing incidents, with "waste of time" and "fear for their reputation" being the most common.

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Meta Toughens Content Curbs for Teens on Instagram, Facebook

FILE - Woman holds smartphone with Meta logo in front of a displayed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration picture
FILE - Woman holds smartphone with Meta logo in front of a displayed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration picture

WASHINGTON — Meta on Tuesday said it was tightening up content restrictions for teens on Instagram and Facebook as it faces increased scrutiny that its platforms are harmful for young people.

The changes come months after dozens of U.S. states accused Meta of damaging the mental health of children and teens, and misleading users about the safety of its platforms.

In a blog post, the company run by Mark Zuckerberg said it will now "restrict teens from seeing certain types of content across Facebook and Instagram even if it's from friends or people they follow."

This type of content would include content that discusses suicide or self-harm, as well as nudity or mentions of restricted goods, the company added.

Restricted goods on Instagram include tobacco products and weapons as well as alcohol, contraception, cosmetic procedures and weight loss programs, according to its website.

In addition, teens will now be defaulted into the most restricted settings on Instagram and Facebook, a policy that was in place for new users and that now will be expanded to existing users.

This will "make it more difficult for people to come across potentially sensitive content or accounts in places like Search and Explore," the company said.

Meta also said that it will expand its policy of hiding results to searches related to suicide and self harm to include more terms.

Leaked internal research from Meta, including by the Wall Street Journal and whistle-blower Frances Haugen, has shown that the company was long aware of dangers its platforms have on the mental health for young people.

On the platforms, teens are defined as being under eighteen, based on the date of birth they give when signing up.

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