In a previous Bitesized Edition, we looked at the upcoming changes to the Equality Act 2010 relating to liability for harassment by third parties in the workplace and further protections to prevent sexual harassment of employees in the workplace. This may come into effect as early as next year.
However, it is important for employers to be aware that they can still be liable for employees who have subjected other employees to harassment in the workplace if they have not taken reasonable steps to prevent harassment.
Regardless of the law relating to harassment, it is important for employers to ensure they take all necessary steps to prevent bullying and harassment in the workplace. It is of utmost importance to businesses to ensure the culture is one that is free from bullying and harassment, and employees feel safe and engaged. This contributes to the wellbeing of employees and productivity, which ultimately leads to a better performing business, attracting and retaining the right talent.
There are several measures employers can put in place to prevent bullying and harassment. This can include ensuring the right policies and procedures are in place including, Anti-Harassment and Bullying, Equality Diversity and Inclusion and IT Communications policies, and well-communicated grievance and disciplinary procedures.
All employees are responsible to behave in a way that supports inclusion and everyone should play a part in making any policy a reality. Therefore, employers will need to go further than just policies and procedures as it is not enough to foster a great workplace culture and environment to just have the written policies in place. That might include training in Anti-Harassment and Bullying and Equality Diversity and Inclusion and to improve employees’ awareness, Unconscious Bias workshops are also highly useful.
Further measures may be regular training sessions or employee engagement forums to seek feedback from employees on a regular basis to monitor culture in the workplace. Employers need to ensure management create an open-door policy for employees so they feel comfortable talking about concerns in the workplace.
Need to know more?
For more information on these changes or assistance with updating your policies or contracts, you can contact our Employment Client Services team here, or by calling the team 0344 2640102.