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Respond to the Government consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace

Respond to the Government consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace

The Government Equalities Office have launched a consultation to gather evidence about whether the current laws on protecting people from sexual harassment in the workplace are effective.

The consultation closes on October 2nd 2019. 

The conultation defines “sexual harassment is any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that makes you feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended”.

Current Law

The Equality Act 2010 says that employers are legally responsible if an employee is sexually harassed at work by another employee, and the employer had not taken all steps they could to prevent it from happening.

The Government say they want everybody to feel safe at work so they can succeed and thrive. They are therefore looking at whether the current laws on this issue provide the protections they’re supposed to; considering whether there are any gaps and thinking about what more can be done at a practical level to ensure people are properly protected at work.

They want to understand people’s experiences, focussing on some particular issues that might be able to be tackled through changes to the law:

  • How best to make sure employers take all the steps they can to prevent harassment from happening
  • 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
  • Whether interns and volunteers are adequately protected by current laws and
  • Whether people should be given longer to take a harassment, discrimination or victimisation claim to an Employment Tribunal.

Who should respond

The consultation is split into two parts:

  • a set of online questions that are quick and easy for anyone to respond to, and
  • a more technical document that invites views on the details of the law.

Both look at the same issues with a different level of detail.

Individuals

They would particularly like to hear from:

  • anyone who has experience of sexual harassment or other types of discrimination at work
  • anyone who is or has been a volunteer or an intern and who has experience of sexual harassment or any other type of discrimination
  • anyone who has managed or supported someone who has experienced sexual harassment or other types of discrimination at work
  • anyone who has thought about taking a case of any type of discrimination or harassment to an employment tribunal, whether or not you decided to in the end.

Individuals can fill in the online questionnaire here.

Organisations

If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, or you have a view on the detailed legal elements of this issue you can read and respond to the document Consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – Legal protections under the Equality Act 2010. This sets out the more technical part of this consultation exercise, that invites views on details of the law.

Find the document here.

Other formats

If you cannot fill in the online form and need paper copies, large print, or a Welsh language version of the consultation, please email workplaceharassment@geo.gov.uk

See more about the consultation here.

 

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