The UK government’s long awaited response to its 2018 consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace has now been published. In this update, we look at the findings made and what may be coming down the line for employers as a result.
The 2018 Women and Equalities Select Committee (WESC) report on sexual harassment in the workplace revealed clearly that it was a persistent and important issue, despite the existence of current legal protections. As a result, the government committed to consult on the issue and have produced an official response to the 2018 report.
The government undertook a consultation from 11 July to 2 October 2019, on sexual harassment in the workplace. This consultation took a two-part form, consisting of: 1) a technical consultation with employers on the functionality of the legal framework designed to prevent sexual harassment, and 2) a public questionnaire aimed at gathering insight into the experiences of individuals.
The consultation was designed to explore:
- The evidence for the introduction of a mandatory duty on employers to protect workers from harassment and victimization in the workplace
- How best to strengthen and clarify the laws in relation to third-party harassment
- Whether interns are adequately protected by the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) and the evidence for extending the protections of the Act to volunteers
- The views of stakeholders on extending employment tribunal time limits in the Act from 3 months.