Female paramedics accuse EMS agency of sexual harassment
Female paramedics at the South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust claim they were forced to watch porn and give sexual favors
BRISTOL, England — An investigation into an EMS agency found evidence of rampant sexual harassment among female paramedics, who claim they were forced to watch porn and give sexual favors.
An investigation was launched into the South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust and found that “women spoke of being exposed to pornographic material, were physically propositioned and to behaviors that are frankly bordering on gross misconduct or even sexual assault,” according to NY Post.
The investigation comes after a 2017 National Health Service Staff survey found that 24 percent of SWASFT EMS providers claimed they were bullied or harassed.
“It was made clear to me that if I wanted to progress my career there were sexual favors that were required,” an employee is quoted as saying in the report.
The report also cites an example of the harassment, in which a man and woman “simulated sexual intercourse” on the floor in front of their colleagues. Both men and women said they found the act “wholly offensive.”
The female paramedics, who said they were referred to as “fresh meat” and told they were going to be put over a knee and “spanked,” said they were “too scared” to file a complaint.
Staff members who did complain said they “felt their careers had suffered as a result” or that the complaints were “dismissed with no repercussions for the alleged perpetrator.”
The report said that while both suicidal thoughts and actual suicides have occurred within the agency, “it is impossible to connect these directly to alleged bullying/inappropriate behavior, although some staff we interviewed made those connections themselves.”
SWASFT Chief Executive Ken Wenman commended the staff members for coming forward with their complaints, calling the report “the most important and significant” findings he’s seen in 20 years.
Chairman Tony Fox said “eradicating bullying and harassment is the Trust Board’s highest priority.”
“There is no place for such behavior in this Trust and the Board will provide oversight and support to ensure that the actions to address bullying and harassment are fully implemented and that a step change and sustained improvement is seen across the Trust so that every employee feels valued and is treated with dignity and respect,” he said.