Download the full outcome
Detail of outcome
We received 133 responses to the technical consultation, and 4,215 responses to the public questionnaire. The government response sets out how we will strengthen the protections against sexual harassment in the workplace.
Following this consultation we will legislate to:
- introduce a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment
- create explicit protections from harassment by third parties
We will also:
- support the Equality and Human Rights Commission to produce a statutory code of practice, alongside producing our own employer guidance
- look closely at extending the time limit for bringing Equality Act-based cases to tribunal to 6 months
Alongside this response we have published the following 2 research documents, which informed the consultation response:
- a literature review of existing research, which helped us to develop a nationally-representative survey
- a report which details the results of the survey (conducted in early 2020), which gave us nationally-representative figures on the scale and nature of sexual harassment
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that makes you feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended.
The Equality Act 2010 says that employers are legally responsible if an employee is sexually harassed at work by another employee, and the employer had not taken all steps they could to prevent it from happening.
Why we are consulting
We want everybody to feel safe at work so they can succeed and thrive. We are therefore looking at whether the current laws on this issue provide the protections they’re supposed to; considering whether there are any gaps and thinking about what more can be done at a practical level to ensure people are properly protected at work
To help us with this we want to understand people’s experiences, focussing on some particular issues we might be able to tackle through changes to the law:
- How best to make sure employers take all the steps they can to prevent harassment from happening
- Strengthening and clarifying the law so it’s clear employers should protect their staff from being harassed by clients, customers, or other people from outside their organisation
- Whether interns and volunteers are adequately protected by current laws and
- Whether people should be given longer to take a harassment, discrimination or victimisation claim to an Employment Tribunal
Who should respond
Our consultation is split into two parts:
- a set of online questions that are quick and easy for anyone to respond to, and
- a more technical document that invites views on the details of the law.
Both look at the same issues with a different level of detail.
We would particularly like to hear from:
- anyone who has experience of sexual harassment or other types of discrimination at work
- anyone who is or has been a volunteer or an intern and who has experience of sexual harassment or any other type of discrimination
- anyone who has managed or supported someone who has experienced sexual harassment or other types of discrimination at work
- anyone who has thought about taking a case of any type of discrimination or harassment to an employment tribunal, whether or not you decided to in the end.
If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, or you have a view on the detailed legal elements of this issue we would encourage you to read and respond to the document below, titled Consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace - Legal protections under the Equality Act 2010. This sets out the more technical part of this consultation exercise, that invites views on details of the law.
If you cannot fill in the online form and need paper copies, large print, or a Welsh language version of the consultation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org