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Government to strengthen sexual harassment laws

Posted: 31st July 2019   In: Business Employment, Individual Employment

The government is look for ways to strengthen the law to give employees more protection from sexual harassment.

It is launching a consultation and is inviting victims to have their say on what sort of changes would be beneficial.

One of the things being considered is how to strengthen and clarify the law to give explicit protections against third party harassment.

It had been thought that the Equality Act 2010 provided protection in cases of third-party harassment.

However, in May 2018 the Court of Appeal ruled that the Equality Act could no longer be considered to provide such protection.

The consultation will also look at ways to ensure employers take all steps they can to prevent harassment from happening.

Other subjects to be discussed include extending the Equality Act 2010 workplace protections to volunteers and interns and whether the time limit for employment tribunal claims should be extended.

Currently, three months is the standard time limit for bringing a claim to an Employment Tribunal for workplace claims, although there are some exceptions e.g. for equal pay cases.

A government spokesperson said: “Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity, and that includes their time at work.

“The vast majority of employers take their responsibilities towards their staff in this regard seriously, however we know that some employees have not been protected from vile and degrading behaviour towards them.

“We’re determined to clamp down on the individuals that think they can treat people in this way and empower the UK workforce to come forward and get the justice they deserve.”

Please contact Sorcha Monaghan for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

Posted by: Sorcha Monaghan
Luton Office