Employment Legislation

What is the Statutory Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Why it is Being Developed?

Legislation

What is the Statutory Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Why it is Being Developed?

Due Date

Ongoing

Summary

The Government has committed to developing a Statutory Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment via the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR). They have commenced a consultation on the introduction of a duty on employers to protect workers from sexual harassment.

In addition, consideration would be afforded to the regulation of non-disclosure agreements where allegations of sexual harassment are apparent.

Why This Code is Being Developed

Although there are existing protections against sexual harassment in the workplace in UK law, there is significant evidence that sexual harassment is still widespread in the workplace. This was further highlighted in the #MeToo Movement that gained momentum in 2017 onwards.

In a report in 2018, the Women and Equalities Select Committee raised concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace. The Select Committee recommended a statutory Code of Practice on sexual harassment and harassment at work. The UK government then published a consultation on harassment in the workplace in 2019 to explore these concerns.

The Code will provide greater protection to prevent harassment before it takes place as well as improve safe reporting methods for sexual harassment claims, through new workplace policies and procedures.

Key Points of the Proposed Code

The Code is till in development, but is likely to cover:

  • Guidance for employers on how to actively prevent sexual harassment in the workplace before it takes place
  • Systems and procedures for anonymous reporting
  • Systems and procedures for investigating and recording complaints
  • Specialist support for victims
  • Training, induction, risk assessments and other relevant policies and practises
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