Employers legally required to prevent sexual harassment at work

Employers could be legally required to take “all reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment at work under new reforms proposed by the Government.

In response to its consultation on harassment in the workplace, the Government said it would bring forward legislation to create this new “preventative duty” for employers as soon as parliamentary time allowed.

There are also plans to introduce a duty to protect employees from harassment by third parties, such as customers or clients, and new guidance and a statutory code of practice for employers are expected to be published, demonstrating how to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace.

A further measure being considered is the extension of time allowed to bring sexual harassment cases to employment tribunal from three to six months, although a timescale for this has not been confirmed. 

The aim of these reforms is to “motivate employers to make improvements to workplace practices and culture” and it is therefore recommended that employers start to consider what changes, if any, require to be made to existing policy and practice. 


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