From the 26th of October 2024, new changes to The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 will come into force, placing greater responsibilities on employers to prevent sexual harassment.

Employers will have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment within the workplace, although details of what is considered reasonable are yet to be fully defined although they are expected to be “practical, proportionate and tailored” based on the specific circumstances of the workplace.

Where steps are not taken, and such cases of harassment are taken to tribunal and deemed successful, there could be a compensatory uplift of up to 25%.

So what should employers do in the meantime?

  • Ensure that there are clear and robust policies and procedures in place around sexual harassment within the workplace and that these are readily available to all staff.
  • Provide regular access to training for all employees, outlining what is considered acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour in the workplace.
  • Create effective channels for reporting and investigating incidents of sexual harassment.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is also expected to provide further guidance before the introduction of this new duty.

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