Be aware of harassment at work events

Following the widely reported issue at the CBI in which allegations of harassment have resulted in the potential downfall of the organisation, the issue of sexual harassment at work events has resulted in many employers taking action to equip staff with additional information should they feel vulnerable at work or at a work event.

Employers have a duty of care to protect their employees attending business and work-related social events which are deemed an extension of the workplace. When attending either a company Christmas party, a conference, exhibition or an event organised by a corporate partner, employees have the right to remain safe and employers can be held to be vicariously liable for the actions of their employees, even when it comes to off-site events.

Employers should be clear that employees are bound by their obligation to conduct themselves professionally at work-related events. They must not damage the reputation of the company and must conduct themselves respectfully towards their colleagues, peers and other attendees. It is also important to outline the consequences of not doing so clearly, including taking decisive disciplinary action.

Employers must provide employees with a safe means to report incidents of misconduct. It can be difficult for employees to report such incidents, particularly when the perpetrator is senior to the victim, is a valued customer, significant charity donor or senior government official.

Having the right culture, processes, policies and training in place will go a long way towards ensuring that employers are able to fulfil their duty of care obligation to keep employees safe.

Contact 121 HR Solutions today and discuss developing a Code of Conduct for your organisation – enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk

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