At a glance
- The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023.
- The Act introduces a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees in the workplace.
- It will come into force one year after the day on which it was passed.
The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 amends the Equality Act 2010 to introduce a new duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees. It also gives employment tribunals the power to increase compensation by up to 25% where an employer is found to have breached the duty.
The Act has been narrowed significantly from its original draft. The Bill originally provided that an employer would have to take ‘all’ reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees in the course of employment. However, during the Bill’s passage through the House of Lords, the Bill was amended to require that employers must take ‘reasonable steps’, rather than ‘all reasonable steps’, to protect employees from sexual harassment. The Lords also objected to the proposed re-introduction of employer liability for the harassment of employees by third parties in the course of employment (which was repealed in 2013) and removed the relevant provision. On 20 October 2023, the House of Commons accepted both amendments made by the House of Lords to the Bill.
The EHRC is intending to update its technical guidance on sexual harassment to reflect the new duty. This will set out the steps that employers should take to comply with the law. Minor amendments to policies dealing with harassment may be required, but the more important aspects of taking reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment are likely to be regular, effective training and consistent and thorough responses to complaints of sexual harassment.
Share this post with your LinkedIn network: https://www.linkedin.com/sharing/share-offsite/?url=https://blogs.dlapiper.com/beaware/worker-protection-amendment-of-equality-act-2010-act-receives-royal-assent/