Employers’ Response to Sexual Harassment Comes Under Scrutiny

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced that it has written to Chairs of the FTSE 100 and other leading employers to remind them of their legal responsibility for the safety and dignity of their employees in ordinary workplaces across the country.

It has asked them to supply evidence of what safeguards they have in place to prevent sexual harassment, what steps they have taken to ensure that all employees are able to report instances of harassment without fear of retribution, and how they plan to prevent harassment in the future.
The Commission says that if it discovers evidence of systemic failings it will consider exercising its enforcement powers, which could include undertaking investigations into organisations that it suspects may be failing to take reasonable steps to protect employees.
"Sexual harassment is rife across all of our industries,” commented the Commission’s Chief Executive, Rebecca Hilsenrath. “We accept it far too easily, in terms of the culture we live in. Accountability lies with leadership. It is not enough to report a nil return. We need to take responsibility to ensure that no woman will ever be intimidated from reporting, be challenged by the difficulty of doing so or frightened of the implications for her career.”
"Everyone is entitled to a workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination, and until we achieve that goal, we will see inequality in pay and opportunity, and a waste of some of the brightest talent owned by half the human race,” she added. “We want to find out what is working and what the barriers are and identify the leaders who are making a difference."

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Caroline Walker featured in the FT
The Law on Sexual Harassment

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