The government has launched a consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace, looking at how best to make sure employers take all the steps they can to prevent harassment from happening.
The consultation seeks input on the introduction of a new duty on employers to protect workers from sexual harassment in the workplace – and, crucially, to prevent harassment happening in the first place. Further guidance on what steps employers can take to do so are currently being developed by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
It also looks at strengthening and clarifying the law so it’s clear employers should protect their staff from being harassed by clients, customers, or other people from outside their organisation. This would be done through the re-introduction of Section 40 of the Equality Act, and here the consultation also asks the question around when an employer becomes liable.
The reintroduction of section 40 is something the CBI has been calling for as it will bridge an existing gap in the law and will positively contribute to tackling sexual harassment at work. Businesses are ready to play their part in tackling sexual harassment at work – and we believe our members can also support a new duty that requires reasonable and proportionate steps to minimise the risk of sexual harassment at work.
The consultation is open for three months, closing on 2 October. And in the upcoming months the CBI will hold roundtable discussion to consult with members to develop the CBI’s response.