As promised (see Gender equality roadmap above), the Government published a further consultation on 11 July 2019 to explore some of the concerns raised by the Women and Equalities Select Committee in their 2018 report. This follows the consultation earlier this year on the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and wider confidentiality clauses in sexual harassment cases. This new Government consultation acknowledges that sexual harassment in the workplace persists at “a startling rate”, despite the strong and clear protections provided by the Equality Act 2010. It is now exploring the concerns raised by the Select Committee, with a view to ensuring that our legislation is operating effectively.
The consultation explores:
- the evidence for the introduction of a mandatory duty on employers to protect workers from harassment and victimisation in the workplace
- how best to strengthen and clarify the laws in relation to third party harassment
- whether interns are adequately protected by the Equality Act
- the evidence for extending the protections of the Equality Act to volunteers
- the evidence for extending Employment Tribunal time limits in the Equality Act from three months.
The current consultation is open until 2 October 2019.
The Government will be carrying out a survey over the summer to help it target and tailor its proposed solutions.
This consultation suggests that the government is committed to doing more to try and tackle sexual harassment in the workplace.