Close menu

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 (the “Act”) received royal assent on 26 October 2023. The Act, which is anticipated to come into force in October 2024, imposes a proactive duty on employers to take “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment of employees.

Whilst this is an important step in the right direction to protect employees against sexual harassment, this responsibility is not as onerous on employers as initially intended.

The first draft of the Act proposed that employers take “all reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment and, in addition, re-introduced the duty to protect employees against harassment from third parties; the House of Lords removed this detail when they amended the Act, and the House of Commons accepted it.

Parliament has subsequently been criticised for weakening the obligations under the Act.

What does this mean for businesses?

Employers should prepare themselves for the changes that are anticipated to come into force under the Act, in October 2024; to protect their employees and to mitigate any claims that could be brought against them.  

Examples of reasonable steps employers could take to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace include:

  • Adopting clear internal policies that deal with anti-harassment and equality, or reviewing existing policies to make sure they are still relevant;
  • Providing training to staff so that they are aware of what sexual harassment is and what policies are in place to avoid it;
  • Making it clear to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated;
  • Having clear procedures in place so that staff are aware of how to report incidents and how they will be dealt with;
  • If incidents of sexual harassment are reported, taking them seriously and dealing with them promptly and as appropriately (such as investigating reports).

Employers should be aware that under the new Act, if a successful claim is brought against them for failing to prevent sexual harassment, the Act allows an Employment Tribunal to increase compensation awarded to the claimant by up to 25%.

Contact our employment law solicitors

If you are concerned about how the new legislation will affect your business, our employment team can provide comprehensive advice and support. To contact them please complete the enquiry form below.


Key Contact

Debbie Coyne

Debbie Coyne

Employment Law Senior Associate Solicitor

Debbie is a Senior Associate in the Employment team who regularly attends our offices in Altrincham, Warrington and Chester.  She is recommended in The Legal 500 and has been named as a Rising Star.

arrow icon

Latest News

New Website Article Images (4)

Tribunal finds referring to an employee as “glamorous” is misguided but not discriminatory

08 May 2024

Read more
Solar On Farmland Min

Planning Applications for Solar Schemes on Farmland: Things to Consider

11 April 2024

Read more