Are you ready for the new duty for employers?
Way back in 2019, the government began consulting on whether the laws on sexual harassment in the workplace were working effectively. In July this year, the government finally published its response to that consultation and announced that a new duty for employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace should be introduced.
The consultation had been a response to the realisation in the wake of the #MeToo movement that sexual harassment persists in workplaces and in society at large, despite the protections available under the Equality Act 2010. The government has now published its response to the consultation and announced the introduction of a new duty for employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The new duty is expected to require employers to take “all reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment, although at this stage there is little detail of:
a. what ‘all reasonable steps’ will look like
b. how the duty will be enforced, or
c. when the legislation enacting the new duty will be introduced.
In the meantime, while we wait for that detail, this is a perfect time for you to review whether your business is doing everything it can to prevent harassment and discrimination of all types, whether it’s related to gender, race or any other protected characteristic. Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion learning & development programme is geared to supporting the right conversations with your colleagues about culture change. It will also enable you to demonstrate a critical component of the current Equality Act ‘all reasonable steps’ defence, should you later need to rely on it to defend any type of harassment claim. Contact Catherine Mitchell if you’d like to find out more.