News and Events

Report on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

  • Posted

The Women and Equalities Commission (a parliamentary committee) has produced its report on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

Its recommendations are:

• a mandatory duty on employers to protect employees from sexual harassment in the workplace, enforceable by the EHRC and punishable by fines

• a duty for public sector employers to conduct risk assessment for sexual harassment, and take steps to mitigate any risks

• reintroducing third party harassment, so that employers are liable if they have failed to take reasonable steps to prevent others harassing their staff

• extending sexual harassment protection interns and volunteers

• extension of the time limit for bringing a claim to six months, with the clock paused while any internal grievance process is going on

• enabling tribunals to award punitive damages in sexual harassment cases creating a presumption of costs, so that employers will ordinarily have to pay the employee’s legal costs if it loses a sexual harassment case

• limiting the ability to use confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements to ‘government approved’ standard clauses

• making it a professional disciplinary offence for lawyers (and, in certain circumstances, also a criminal offence for the employer and the lawyer) to propose the use of a non-approved confidentiality clause