UK – The new Worker Protection Act

What’s new?

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 (the “Act”) recently achieved Royal Assent, and will come into force in October 2024. Under the Act, employers will be required to take reasonable steps to prevent their employees from being subject to sexual harassment whilst at work.

It is expected that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) will publish a code of practice containing guidance on how employers can comply with the new requirements.

What potential penalties could employers face?

Under the Act, if the Tribunal finds that the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment, any compensation awarded could be increased by up to 25%.

What should employers do now?

Employers should familiarise themselves with the new Act (and applicable EHRC guidance, once published) and take preparatory steps to ensure they are ready for its implementation next October, including reviewing and updating relevant employment policies, procedures, documentation and training programmes – particularly those relating to equal opportunities and bullying/harassment. If you need any support with this, or would like any further information, please get in touch with a member of the MDR ONE team.

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