Call us on:  0808 172 93 22

Zero Tolerance on Sexual Harassment?

size0Last year was a year of surprising developments in the field of employment law and it has also certainly been an encouraging year for women in the arena of work and working relationships with equal pay and sexual harassment setting the momentum for legal decisions and media frenzy.

From Prime Ministers to activists to law enforcement within the civil and criminal court system, a seismic change appears to be developing in the war against sex discrimination. Laws to protect, for the most part, women, from unlawful discrimination in the workplace are not new, the Equal Pay Act 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 have been in place for over four decades.

This, therefore, begs the question, to what should we attribute this clear increase in the number of claims being brought against individuals, employers and even members of Parliament? Certainly the number of global high profile allegations against even the current United States President and Harvey Weinstein the movie mogul has arguably given women in the workplace the courage to come forward casting off the shackle of fear that such a stance could be career-defining for all the wrong reasons, or that the practice of sexual harassment within their particular workplace is so ingrained as to be institutional.

Closer to home, the abolition of Employment Tribunal fees has led to a 66% increase in the number of claims made in Employment Tribunals in the period of October 2017 to December 2017. No doubt some of these will be complaints linked to some form of sex discrimination.

Employers can either be directly liable for proven cases of sex discrimination or have liability imposed as a result of the actions of their employees where the employer is unable to demonstrate that they took all reasonable steps to prevent the conduct of the errant employee and there was nothing more they could have done. Given the current climate and appetite for seeking redress for unsolicited and unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, employers of any size are well advised to review their policies and procedures to ensure not only that there is an effective infrastructure in place to deal with allegations of this nature, but also that the issue of educating the workforce to have an appreciation as to the types of conduct that may be perceived by female and also male employees as undermining their dignity at work.

There should be regular periodic reviews of all relevant policies and procedures to ensure that there is sufficient knowledge of them in the workplace and that they remain effective. New employees should have dignity at work and awareness policies enshrined within onboarding and induction training to ensure that a full appreciation of the types of prohibited behaviour is gained. Employers must balance the right of an aggrieved employee to make allegations and to have the confidence that they will be effectively dealt with, against the right of the accused to also be confident that the process that follows will have the required level of investigative thoroughness to withstand objective scrutiny. In so doing a culture that promoted dignity at work will be woven into the fabric of working practices.

Updated: by content@allthingsmanagement.co.uk
Call us on:  0808 172 93 22

ZERO TOLERANCE ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT?

size0Last year was a year of surprising developments in the field of employment law and it has also certainly been an encouraging year for women in the arena of work and working relationships with equal pay and sexual harassment setting the momentum for legal decisions and media frenzy.

From Prime Ministers to activists to law enforcement within the civil and criminal court system, a seismic change appears to be developing in the war against sex discrimination. Laws to protect, for the most part, women, from unlawful discrimination in the workplace are not new, the Equal Pay Act 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 have been in place for over four decades.

This, therefore, begs the question, to what should we attribute this clear increase in the number of claims being brought against individuals, employers and even members of Parliament? Certainly the number of global high profile allegations against even the current United States President and Harvey Weinstein the movie mogul has arguably given women in the workplace the courage to come forward casting off the shackle of fear that such a stance could be career-defining for all the wrong reasons, or that the practice of sexual harassment within their particular workplace is so ingrained as to be institutional.

Closer to home, the abolition of Employment Tribunal fees has led to a 66% increase in the number of claims made in Employment Tribunals in the period of October 2017 to December 2017. No doubt some of these will be complaints linked to some form of sex discrimination.

Employers can either be directly liable for proven cases of sex discrimination or have liability imposed as a result of the actions of their employees where the employer is unable to demonstrate that they took all reasonable steps to prevent the conduct of the errant employee and there was nothing more they could have done. Given the current climate and appetite for seeking redress for unsolicited and unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, employers of any size are well advised to review their policies and procedures to ensure not only that there is an effective infrastructure in place to deal with allegations of this nature, but also that the issue of educating the workforce to have an appreciation as to the types of conduct that may be perceived by female and also male employees as undermining their dignity at work.

There should be regular periodic reviews of all relevant policies and procedures to ensure that there is sufficient knowledge of them in the workplace and that they remain effective. New employees should have dignity at work and awareness policies enshrined within onboarding and induction training to ensure that a full appreciation of the types of prohibited behaviour is gained. Employers must balance the right of an aggrieved employee to make allegations and to have the confidence that they will be effectively dealt with, against the right of the accused to also be confident that the process that follows will have the required level of investigative thoroughness to withstand objective scrutiny. In so doing a culture that promoted dignity at work will be woven into the fabric of working practices.