Time to Rethink Workplace Harassment – New EHRC Guidance
#Metoo has placed the issue of sexual misconduct and harassment firmly in the spotlight, making employers challenge their current practices and policies to prevent and tackle workplace harassment. No business wants to find themselves on the receiving end of a harassment complaint – or even worse – an employment tribunal claim. It is not just about the legal expenses and potential problems with future employment relations, but also about a likely reputational damage and issues with attracting the best talent. It is even more important to ensure that workplace harassment is taken seriously within an organisation, as Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has created a new substantial guidance on harassment at work, setting out detailed recommendations that employers should consider following in order to prevent and deal with such behaviour.
The Guidance is comprehensive and includes many examples of what businesses should be doing to understand their legal obligations and adopt best practice to expose, prevent and respond appropriately to harassment complaints. To comply with the guidance, you will now have to have a policy that addresses all types of harassment, including third-party harassment, and have a clear plan of action in order to prevent and remedy it. You will also be responsible for training your employees on what harassment is, what it can look like and how to respond to it.
Goodwille can help you with tackling the new legislation by:
- providing help with reviewing, improving or creating an Anti-harassment policy with sufficient level of detail in it;
- training your managers and employees on what harassment in the workplace looks like, what to do if they experience it and how to handle any complaints;
- introducing effective measures of fighting harassment at work and ensuring compliance.
In the event of a tribunal claim, failure to follow the new Guidance will most likely count against an employer and could boost one’s claim by as much as 25%. Another factor to consider is the fact that harassment in the workplace is now viewed as a business risk issue and should be treated as one. Progressive employers would want to act (and to be seen to act) in line with advice on good practice issued by the EHRC.
The main take-away is that it is no longer good enough to simply have a policy on anti-harassment that gets dusted off once in a while. Employers are now expected to consider and address the issue at each level, from the shop floor to the board room, and put in an active effort to eradicate harassment in the organisation.
Get in touch with our HR Manager, Jacqui Brown, to discuss how we can support your Organisation today.