Zero Tolerance to Harassment
A fast-food outlet has recently signed a legal agreement with the equality watchdog amid concerns over how it has handled sexual harassment complaints made by UK staff. The legally binding agreement, with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), commits the group to several measures to better protect workers in the UK. It is not known how many current complaints have been made in the UK, but it is rumoured to be more than 1,000 cases.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission stated “There should be zero tolerance of sexual harassment in every organisation. It can devastate people’s lives and create a toxic working environment for all.
Every employer, no matter how big or small, is responsible for protecting its workforce. We work with all companies to help them do this. We are determined to crack down on workplace cultures of sexual harassment, whether in restaurants or hotels, sports clubs, or offices.’’
Safe at Work? Have recently reported that a fifth of people worldwide have experienced at least one form of violence and harassment at work in their working lifetime. 61% in instances of psychological harassment, and 56% and 52% respectively for physical or sexual violence and harassment.
Ultimately it is the responsibility of all employers to take proactive measures to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace. Under the Equality Act 2010, employers can be held legally responsible if an employee is sexually harassed at work by a colleague if it is found they didn’t take all reasonable steps to prevent this from happening.
Workplace training for managers and workers on how to manage, avoid and report inappropriate actions can go a long way in discouraging all forms of sexual harassment in the workplace, as can providing effective support for affected employees.
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