New statutory code to fight the ‘failure’ of employers to sort out sexual harassment at work


A brand new statutory code of observe on sexual harassment within the office is to be drawn up.

Ministers will work with the Equality and Human Rights Fee (EHRC) to fight what they describe as some employers’ “failure” to take the difficulty significantly and to provide a code that makes it clear “what actions an employer should take to fulfil their authorized obligations”.

They will even have a look at tightening laws round non-disclosure agreements and seek the advice of on how to make sure explanations to staff are clear.

It follows a report earlier this yr by the Commons Girls and Equalities Committee (CWEC) which discovered that sexual feedback, undesirable touching, groping and assault are nonetheless “widespread and commonplace” in British business.

The six-month investigation discovered that employers and regulators have been “ignoring” their obligations, with the federal government not even gathering knowledge on the prevalence of sexual harassment within the office.

The committee advisable a “necessary responsibility” on employers to guard staff from harassment and victimisation.

A authorities assertion saying work on the brand new code of observe stated: “The Authorities shares the committee’s considerations that proof suggests many employers are at the moment failing their workers of their duty to forestall sexual harassment, and within the techniques they’ve in place for coping with it when it does happen.

“We due to this fact agree the proposal for the event of a brand new statutory code of observe on sexual harassment and can work with the EHRC to develop a code that make it clear what actions an employer should take to fulfil their authorized obligations.”

Chair of the CWEC committee Maria Miller welcomed the federal government plans however stated they’d “missed the chance to put a higher onus on employers to guard staff from harassment and to extend sanctions for poor observe.

“Simply maintaining a tally of how employment tribunals reply to the brand new code is insufficient.”

She added: “Employers have to know that they face extreme penalties if they do not do sufficient to guard their employees from harassment and victimisation.”

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