A new statutory Code of Practice will be developed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in order to guide employers on their legal responsibilities regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. This was one of 12 actions recently announced by the UK government as it makes confronting workplace harassment a priority.
On 18 December, the UK Government Equalities Office published a package of 12 announcements regarding its intention to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace. Most significant was the announcement to introduce a new statutory Code of Practice (Code) to tackle sexual harassment at work; the Code will be drawn up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and is intended to guide employers on their legal responsibilities.
The announcements are in response to the July 2018 recommendations of the UK Women and Equalities Committee, which called for (1) putting sexual harassment at the top of the UK government’s agenda; (2) requiring regulators to take a more active role in tackling harassment; (3) making enforcement processes work better for employees by setting them out in the Code; (4) cleaning up the use of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) used in employment contracts and settlement agreements; and (5) collecting robust data on sexual harassment in the workplace at regular intervals.
The UK government has announced its intention to take the following 12 actions:
We will report on further information released on the content of the Code, and on the conclusions reached by the UK government from the proposed areas of consultation in due course.
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