New Sexual Harassment Code
The government has announced it will work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to produce a new statutory code of practice dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.
The Code will make it clear, ‘what actions an employer must take to fulfil their legal responsibilities.’ It will mean that if employers do not follow the code, employment tribunal decisions could go against them when they consider cases of harassment brought by employees.
It will be designed to combat the apparent failure by many employers to take preventative responsibilities seriously, but the government has attracted criticism for ignoring calls for sanctions to tackle non-compliance.
The announcement of this new code follows recommendations by the Commons' Women and Equalities Select Committee to place a mandatory duty on employers to protect workers from harassment and bullying. The government also agreed with the Committee that non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) require better regulation and have agreed to consult on this.
It you want to be ready for the new Code when it is published, making sure that you have a written policy on bullying and harassment and taking complaints seriously is a good start. But as the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure” so make it clear to all your employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated and that unwanted advances could amount to allegations of gross misconduct.
If you need help or advice on this subject, please get in touch.
Posted on 21 Dec 2018