Foreign workers ‘unclear’ on HR procedures when facing violence and harassment at work

Data from global safety charity Lloyd’s Register Foundation has found that many foreign-born workers who are experiencing violence and harassment in the workplace are not disclosing the incidents because of ‘unclear procedures’.

The data – which is taken from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, powered by Gallup – shows that while 22% of non-native workers reported experiencing workplace violence and harassment, only 53% had told someone about it. When asked for the reason for not disclosing the experience to someone else, foreign-born workers were more likely than native-born workers to cite not knowing what to do in the situation or being unclear on procedures.

Now, Lloyd’s Register Foundation is calling on HR departments and organisations across the world to assess their policies and procedures related to violence and harassment, to ensure everyone is aware of what support they can access should they experience it. Detailed in a new report – Focus On: The impact of income and migration on violence and harassment at work – the experiences of migrants and foreign-born workers show that better communication lines are required to ensure this global challenge doesn’t worsen.

Aaron Gardner, Data and Insight Scientist at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said: “Our data shows a global problem related to violence and harassment in the workplace. Not only is it taking place at an unacceptably high rate, but it is disproportionately impacting foreign-born workers. Extra care is required to ensure communication lines are clear and accessible to allow those more exposed to workplace violence and harassment to report the harm with confidence that action will be taken.”

Lloyd’s Register Foundation is encouraging organisations to use the dataset from the World Risk Poll to help grow better understanding of the safety issues faced in the countries where they are based. Companies can access country specific data from 121 nations, including regions which previously lacked granular understanding of their resident’s experiences of violence and harassment at work.

The global safety charity is also urging governments and policymakers to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 190 – the first international labour standard to provide a common framework to prevent, remedy and eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work. Despite being introduced in 2019, very few countries have ratified the convention, including the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Aaron added: “The data is the first of its kind to allow us to truly understand worker experiences globally, so it serves as a crucial tool for those in the HR profession to better analyse their own practices and put the right measures in place. Not only can the data be used as a benchmark for success, but it can also show the barriers facing workers who do not disclose experiences of violence and harassment.

“Action needs to start today. Of course, policymakers at a government level need to make changes – such as ratification of ILO Convention 190 – but HR teams and organisations must also take note and proactively incorporate changes where necessary. If nothing changes, then the problem may persist or even worsen, which is simply unacceptable given the knowledge extracted from the World Risk Poll.”

To compile the report, 125,000 people across 121 countries were polled about their experiences of workplace violence and harassment. All those interviewed were given a comprehensive definition of each of the three forms of ‘violence and harassment’ that they were asked about – physical, psychological, and sexual.

To access the entire dataset, please visit:

To download the Focus On report visit:

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