Government responds to consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace
The government has published its response to the consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace and confirmed that it will introduce a duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment, as well as explicit protections from third-party harassment.
It will also consider extending the time limit for claims under the Equality Act 2010 from three to six months.
There is no detail of the proposed new duty on employers, other than it will require employers to take "all reasonable steps" to prevent workplace sexual harassment. The new duty would be enforceable by both the EHRC and by individual employees with employers potentially liable if they do not take reasonable steps to prevent harassment in accordance with a statutory code of practice. Similarly there is no detail of the protections to be introduced from third-party harassment. The government has said that these changes will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.
The consultation also considered extending protection from sexual harassment to volunteers and interns. The government has concluded that many interns are already protected and that extending protection to volunteers could have undesirable consequences.