Tackling Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
As we enter 2020, the Government has signified its ongoing commitment to tackle sexual harassment at work and has announced it will undertake a further survey to provide the opportunity for harassment victims to share their experiences as part of a continuing review.
The intention is that the survey will go out to 12,200 people and the Government hopes that the responses will provide an indication of how prevalent sexual harassment is in the workplace and what form it currently takes.
This step is an additional survey to the one conducted by the Government last year when it canvassed views on how to strengthen and clarify laws that would protect people against harassment. This survey closed at the end of October 2019 and almost 5,000 people responded.
As part of the Government's commitment to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace, the Equality and Human Rights Commission have recently published new guidance to advise employers on how to make their workplaces safe from sexual harassment.
At the current time the document is only guidance and is not a statutory code, but within time it is planned that the guidance will become a statutory measure enforceable by law. This will mean that an Employment Tribunal will be obliged to take the guidance into account in cases where it thinks it is relevant.
The Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said that there remains an "overwhelming" need for action on harassment in the workplace and they have updated their guidance in response to widespread demand.
The reality is that sexual harassment in the workplace remains an issue and this is supported by the continued increase in sex discrimination claims. The guidance which has been produced must be welcomed and it provides practical and helpful information to employers about how they can take proactive steps to prevent harassment in the workplace and what action it should take when responding to allegations of harassment.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.