One of the issues highlighted by the #metoo movement has been the reluctance for individuals to report allegations of sexual and other harassment. In an attempt to help address some of these issues, the Equalities & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published new guidance on sexual, and other types of, harassment at work. Described as a “comprehensive guide” and “best practice”, it provides some useful pointers for employers when considering how best to deal with harassment in the workplace. It’s a non-statutory code, meaning that the guidance is not legally binding, but it can be referred to in Tribunal evidence to demonstrate how a good employer might be expected to act.
As an employer, you are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that staff members are not subject to harassment by other workers. If you fail to do so, you are not only risking high value Tribunal claims against your business or organisation , but also significant reputational damage and a possible investigation by the EHRC.
The guidance contains a useful section about what steps employers can take to prevent and respond to harassment, including suggested information for inclusion within an anti-harassment policy, steps to encourage reporting of harassment concerns and appropriate steps to respond to harassment allegations.
Torque Law recommend that anti-harassment policies form part of your staff handbook as well as part of your induction and on-going training programme. We can help ensure that your policies and procedures are up to date and relevant for your workplace. Managers’ knowledge and skills on harassment, discrimination and unfair dismissal can all be significantly increased by coming along to our popular and practical Managing the Employee Lifeline course (next running in York on 21 April).
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