Royal Mail has made progress in stamping out sexual harassment but still has further work to do, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) said today.
The commission suspended a formal investigation into widespread allegations of sexual harassment in the summer of 2003 on condition that Royal Mail tackled the problem on the basis of an agreed action-plan.
Following an interim review of progress, the EOC has decided to continue the suspension of the investigation.
Julie Mellor, who chairs the Equal Opportunities Commission, said: "Everyone working at Royal Mail has the right to work in a professional environment free from the unwanted attentions of their colleagues, and free of the misery caused by sexual harassment
"For Royal Mail's female staff to take this for granted requires a change in the business's culture.
"The company has gone some way towards achieving this, making a real effort to get the right policies in place. Its senior staff, and particularly Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton, have sent out clear messages to all staff that any form of bullying or sexual harassment is unacceptable."
Bur Mellor warned that continued concerted effort is needed at every level of the organisation to make this working climate a reality for postal service workers.
"Change of this scale will take time. We firmly believe, however, that tackling sexual harrassment at the Royal Mail will make it a better place to work, making it a more profitable and efficient business,” she said.
"Although we have suspended our formal investigation we will continue to assess how Royal Mail is tackling the allegations of sexual harassment which continue to be made by postal workers.
"We believe that Royal Mail will continue to act on our recommendations, and we look forward to working with them over the remaining 14 months of the agreement to make life better for the UK's post women and men," Mellor said.
Leighton said: "We have made progress but realise that much work still needs to be done within the organisation and that there is no quick fix.
"We have set about changing the culture of Royal Mail. We are determined to stamp out any such incidents and even one case is not acceptable."