Measures announced to combat Sexual Harassment at Work

The Women and Equalities Select Committee reported earlier this year that sexual harassment in the workplace is “widespread and commonplace”. It recommended that the government put sexual harassment at the top of its agenda, advising that (a) regulators should take a more active role, (b) enforcement processes should be modified to work better for employees and set out in code of practice; and (c) the use of non-disclosure agreements should be reviewed.

Following that report, the government has agreed:

  • to the introduction of a new Code of Practice designed to give employers a better understanding of their legal responsibilities to protect staff;
  • to carry out awareness-raising work with ACAS, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and employers;
  • to check that the list of organisations who can receive whistle-blowing information includes the correct organisations;
  • to publish data on workplace sexual harassment at least every three years; and
  • to consult on a variety of issues including (i) the oversight and regulation of non-disclosure agreements, (ii) ways to strengthen and clarify the laws in relation to third-party harassment, (iii) the evidence for extending employment tribunal time limits for Equality Act 2010 cases, and (iv) the potential introduction of a new legal duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

For more information, follow these links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-new-code-of-practice-to-tackle-sexual-harassment-at-work

Government Response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee –¬†https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmwomeq/1801/180102.htm

Business, Finance & Law