The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published technical guidance on harassment in the workplace.

THE FACTS

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published technical guidance on sexual harassment and other forms of harassment at work. The stated aim of the guidance is to help employers, workers and their representatives understand the extent and impact of harassment in the workplace, the law in this area and best practice for effective prevention and response. The EHRC describes this as the “authoritative and comprehensive guide to the law and best practice in tackling harassment”.

The guidance is not a statutory code. Tribunals are not, therefore, obliged to take the guidance into account, but it can be used as evidence in legal proceedings.

While long, the guidance is interesting reading and includes good examples and discussion of difficult issues, such as the protection given to employees from harassment by third parties, and employers’ obligations in this regard. Employers are likely to find Section 5 of the Guidance (“Taking steps to prevent and respond to harassment”) of particular interest.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS?

Employers may find it useful to review their anti-harassment policies and other measures in place to prevent harassment in the workplace in light of this guidance. It is possible that the Guidance could become a statutory Code of Practice in due course, given the calls made by the Women and Equalities Select Committee for this. For more information on this see our previous alert here.

Technical guidance: Sexual harassment and harassment at work