Government announces measures to prevent sexual harassment at work

The Government has called on organisations and individuals in the UK to submit evidence on sexual harassment against women at work, as it launched a full inquiry to track its extent and determine how to improve existing laws.

Experts have proposed extending time limits for sexual harassment employment tribunal claims, reinstating employer tribunal questionnaires, reducing legal costs and bolstering sanctions for non-compliance with harassment laws. The inquiry will also examine the effectiveness of current legal routes to redress for female workers who suffer sexual harassment, including improved access to tribunals and options for remedies.

In measures designed to safeguard against sexual harassment, the introduction of mandatory workplace risk assessments and line manager training to change work cultures and encourage the reporting of harassment, alongside third-party liability for employers, were all suggested.

The public can submit their views on women’s experience of sexual harassment at work and proposals for effective government action for one month until Tuesday 13 March.

Currently, employers are not liable for third-party harassment of employees – after the government repealed in 2013 a legal provision to that effect in the Equality Act 2010. As part of addressing the legal action around sexual harassment, the committee will also scrutinise the pros and cons of using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in sexual harassment cases.

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