Following consultation back in 2019, the government has now confirmed it will introduce a duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment, legislate to provide for explicit protection from third-party harassment and consider extending the time limit for claims under the Equality Act 2010.
These will all be seen as positive steps by those calling for change, but the lack of detail in the response to consultation, or timeframe for implementation will disappoint many. Nothing is going to change overnight, however it is clear that more will be expected of employers in preventing workplace harassment, with training and increasing awareness seen as vital tools to encourage widespread cultural change. For employers, refreshing and reviewing harassment policies and procedures should be a key HR priority in the coming months.
For businesses needing support and advice on issues involving allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, please see our bespoke service, R4 (Review, Report, Resolve, Respect).
“This package of measures will not only improve protections for those affected by harassment at work, but will also motivate employers to make improvements to workplace practices and culture which will benefit all employees.”