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Employers face new legal duty to prevent sexual harassment

Posted: 22nd January 2019   In: Business Employment

The government is introducing a new Code of Practice that will place a legal duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

The code will contain several measures including protections for volunteers and interns.

The government says it wants to introduce the code so employers better understand their legal responsibilities to protect their staff. The new measures will be put to public consultation.

The Government Equalities Office will look at how employers can introduce better systems to prevent and address sexual harassment at work, and work with regulators to ensure they are taking action.

ComRes, in their 2017 research for the BBC, found that 40% of women (and 18% of men) have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour at work at some point.

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “It continues to disappoint me that some women still face discrimination and harassment at work.

“One part of this is the minority of cases where non-disclosure agreements are used unethically, and employees may not be aware of their protections and rights. We will be consulting on these.”

The government will also explore the evidence for extending the time limits to bring any workplace discrimination and harassment case under the Equality Act 2010 to an employment tribunal.

The government is still developing next steps on this package but has already said that it will:

We shall keep clients informed of developments.

Please contact Jackie Webb if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.