Sellafield nuclear site faces bullying and harassment allegations

Workers reportedly describe how racial, sexist and homophobic bullying had become routine

Big Zero Report 2022

The Sellafield nuclear site is facing bullying and harassment claims.

A BBC investigation, claims workers at the site say sexist and homophobic bullying had become routine.

It reports that a group of ethnic minority employees at the UK’s largest industrial site in Cumbria, described ‘shocking stories’ of racial abuse.

A senior HR manager at the site had reportedly described how an autistic employee had been called a ‘mong’ by her team leader.

Speaking to the BBC, Alison McDermott, Senior Consultant who was working on Sellafield’s equality strategy, said staff interviews and focus groups showed serious allegations of sexual harassment.

Sellafield is made up of 200 nuclear facilities and more than 1,000 buildings and reprocesses nuclear fuel while it provides nuclear waste storage and nuclear decommissioning services.

It is estimated that it employs more than 10,000 staff directly with thousands more working indirectly through contractors.

A Sellafield Ltd spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring all of our employees are respected, included, and able to perform at their best.

“There is no place for bullying and harassment at Sellafield. We do not tolerate it and where we find it, we take action.

“We are working hard to improve our processes so employees can have confidence that when issues are raised, they are dealt with.

“We closely monitor our progress, including seeking the views of our workforce through working groups and surveys.

“It was one of these surveys, in 2018, that first brought focus to concerns about bullying and harassment.

“We did not ignore this, or seek to cover it up. We confronted the issue, proactively shared information with employees, and developed a company-wide improvement programme. This work is continuing.

“We accept we have more work to do in this area but we remain as committed as ever to eradicating unacceptable behaviour from our workplace.”

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