The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill received Royal Assent on October 26 2023. This introduces a new obligation on employers to take “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment of their employees within the workplace. The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act will come into force on 26 October 2024.
The Act also empowers Employment Tribunals to increase compensation by up to 25% if an employer is found to have failed in their duty to prevent sexual harassment. This amendment adds to existing protections from sexual harassment under the Equality Act.
Originally, the Bill stipulated that employers must take “all” reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, but it was later amended during the House of Lords’ deliberations to require employers to take “reasonable steps”.
In summary, the Bill introduces a legal requirement for UK employers to take reasonable measures to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, with the potential for being liable for increased compensation if this duty is deemed to have been breached. The Act aims to strengthen protections against sexual harassment and improve workplace environments.