Sexual Harassment at Work Regulations

Sexual harassment in the workplace is an incredibly serious matter, and it should be treated in such a way that reflects the impact this kind of behaviour can have on the victim. The Worker Protection Bill (Amendment of Equality Act 2010), which gained Royal Assent in 2023, and will come into force in October 2024, introduces a new duty on UK employers to take “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.  It has provided a significant shift in the way sexual harassment cases are handled, by redefining the responsibilities of the employer in addressing the issue and preventing sexual harassment from occurring.

Under the Worker Protection Act 2024, employers have an important new duty to “take reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment of their employees in the course of their employment. Failure to meet these requirements could lead to an employment tribunal claim and employers may, where an employee succeeds with their claim, be liable to pay up to 25% more compensation to the affected employee. This therefore provides employees with a valuable tool to seek justice when they have not been adequately protected by their employers.

It is every employer’s responsibility to ensure that the working environment is safe, secure, and respectful. If you are unsure as to how to achieve this, we can help. Here at Analysis Legal our team of specialist employment solicitors have a great deal of experience in helping employers across a wide range of industries to implement the most up to date employment legislation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about what we can do for you and your business.


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What is Sexual Harassment?

The definition of sexual harassment is “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, which has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a worker, or creating a hostile, intimidating, humiliating, degrading, or offensive environment for them.”

Some common examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Telling jokes that are sexually offensive.
  • Enquiring about somebody’s sex life.
  • Flirting, gesturing, or commenting in a sexual way about someone’s body, appearance, or clothing.
  • Touching someone against their will, including hugging and groping
  • Sharing or displaying pornographic images or other sexual content
  • Making sexual remarks or jokes about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Sending sexually inappropriate messages via email, text, or social media
  • Sexual assault or rape

This list is not exhaustive. Sexual harassment can be an isolated incident, or it may be part of an ongoing pattern of behaviour. Either way, if an employee informs you that they have been sexually harassed in the workplace it should always be treated seriously and investigated further, in line with your company’s sexual harassment policy.

Once again Analysis Legal LLP is a leading firm in the Legal 500 directory, which states ‘Andrea Paxton is a go-to for senior executive departures and hires, as well as redundancy, TUPE and IR35 advice’.

Who can Experience Sexual Harassment?

When thinking about sexual harassment, many people will instantly think of the harassment being inflicted on a woman, by a man. However, sexual harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, and it can also be carried out by anyone in the workplace.

As an employer, it is your responsibility, under the Worker Protection Act 2024, to ensure that you are taking all available steps to prevent sexual harassment of any kind from occurring in your workplace. If you need help in implementing the necessary policies and procedures in advance, please get in touch with our experienced team of employment law solicitors.

What Steps Should I Take as an Employer?

In order to comply with the Worker Protection Act 2024 there are a number of practical steps that employers can take. These may vary depending on the nature of your business and the industry in which you operate, but could include the following:

  • Establishing a comprehensive bullying and harassment policy
  • Providing regular training on how to prevent bullying and sexual harassment.
  • Ensuring policies are regularly reviewed and updated in line with up-to-date legislation
  • Focusing on cultivating a culture of accountability and respect throughout the organisation
  • Ensuring that bullying and harassment policies are followed meticulously by all staff.
  • Establishing a social media policy to prevent employees being sexually harassed online.
  • Publishing harassment policy details on the company website to make a public commitment to preventing workplace harassment.
  • Detecting harassment by being proactively aware of behaviours within the workplace
  • Identifying and addressing power imbalances within the workplace that may contribute to sexual harassment.
  • Transparency about the complaint’s procedure and the possible outcomes
  • Anonymous reporting online to enable workers to report any suspicious behaviour that may otherwise go unreported.
  • Investigating all complaints, including historic ones not previously reported
  • Appointing ‘guardians’ to support the complainant during the process of making a sexual harassment complaint.
  • Carrying out a sexual harassment risk assessment to identify aspects of the workplace culture which may foster the potential for harassment and putting measures in place to eliminate the risk.

This list is by no means exhaustive; some points may not be relevant to your business and/or there may be other initiatives that you may want to implement within your company in order to ensure that you are fully compliant with the Worker Protection Act 2024 when it comes into force and so that your employees feel safe and protected at all times.

Here at Analysis Legal we specialise in assisting businesses to implement up to date employment legislation. We can help to ensure that your company operates smoothly, legally, and, most importantly, safely for your employees. If you would like to find out more about the employment law services, we are able to offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Contact our Workplace Sexual Harassment Solicitors for Employers

Our team has years of experience in advising employers and helping them draft effective sexual harassment policies that protect them and their staff from harm or legal liabilities. Analysis Legal is highly recognised as a leading firm for employment law for employers, with yearly awards and mentions in directories such as the Legal 500.

Our offices are based in Stockport, supporting businesses and employers across Manchester, the North West, and all of England and Wales. We have long-standing relationships with clients in Sheffield, Liverpool, and Leeds, with a proven track record of outstanding results and client care.

As specialist Employment Law Solicitors in Manchester, we offer tailored legal advice that avoids jargon and allows you to have a clear view of your case, its progress, and your next steps. We are committed to transparency, and can often act for clients on a fixed-fee basis.

Your business and its goals are our priority. We begin all of our cases with a thorough assessment, so we can understand how to serve you in the best way possible.

If you are looking for advice regarding sexual harassment policies, or an audit of your current regulations, contact Analysis Legal today.

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