UK Businesses get proactive now ahead of the new legislation

UK businesses Get Proactive Now Ahead Of The New Legislation

Workers Protection (Amendment to Equality Act 2010) Act 2023

From October 2024 all UK employers must ensure they comply with a legal duty to take ‘reasonable steps’ aiming to prevent sexual harassment of employees – this comes with the passing of the Worker Protection (Amendment to Equality Act 2010) Act 2023.

How does this affect your organisation?

Under the Act, employment tribunals will have the power to increase compensation by up to 25% if it finds an employer has failed this duty.

The scale of sexual harassment in the UK's workplace

Sexual harassment remains a significant issue in the UK’s workplaces. 

  • Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals almost 67% of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment at work, with some cases escalating to criminal levels.
  • A poll in May 2023 by the TUC of 1,000 women finds 3 in 5 women say they have experienced harassment at work – rising to almost 2 in 3 women aged 25 to 34.

The poll found that less than one in three (30%) of women who say they experienced sexual harassment at work told their employer about what was happening – and only two in five (44%) of those being bullied and half (50%) experiencing verbal abuse report it. 

Of those who didn’t report it, some felt they would not be believed or taken seriously (39%), while others thought reporting it would impact negatively on their relationships at work (37%) or on their career prospects (25%). 

What are 'reasonable steps'?

While the new law does not explicitly define this, it is advised that employers undertake the following measures in the forthcoming weeks and months:

  • Develop a comprehensive plan and progress report to demonstrate efforts in eradicating sexual harassment.
  • Establish and consistently update a clear workplace anti-harassment policy.
  • Conduct targeted risk assessments.
  • Devise a clear and transparent procedure for reporting sexual harassment.
  • Provide compulsory training to all staff, with specific modules for different employee levels; senior management, line managers, HR, and new recruits.


If found to be in breach of this duty, the employment tribunal has the authority to increase compensation by up to 25% if it is established that sexual harassment has occurred, and compensation has been awarded by a tribunal, and the tribunal has further determined that the employer has breached this new duty.

To mitigate the risk of sexual harassment claims, employers must proactively ensure they are ready for the enforcement of the Act.

HR professionals should be equipped to handle various forms of workplace conflict.  This includes implanting conflict resolution training and establishing a fair grievance process.  By promoting open communication and resolving issues as they arise, HR can contribute a more positive and harmonious work environment.

Key strategies to implement

  1. Establish an Anonymous, two-way reporting channel  as an additional method for people to report incidents of inappropriate behaviour.  An independent anonymous reporting channel removes the fear barrier of reporting to a line manager.
  2. Conduct Anonymous staff surveys that contextualise sexual harassment for the workplace and different groups of workers such as those with protected characteristics.
  3. Consolidate, measure and report with an integrated HR case management software which records all cases raised from various channels of communication and gives organisations real-time insights on trends and areas of concern so preventative action plans can be enforced
  4. And always, training of leadership and managers to confidently implement the organisations sexual harassment policy and competent dealing with any disclosures or complaints.  The competency should be assessed as part of an annual performance review.


If you follow our advice above, you will be able to demonstrate that your organisation has taken ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace – avoiding costly fines and reputational damage.

WorkInConfidence employee engagement solutions for your organisation

Why not book in a demonstration of our anonymous two-way reporting and see how quick and easy our surveys are to create and complete – together with HR case management reporting, you will see how these all integrate giving you real-time dashboard and reporting data, great insights and an overall picture of the health of your organisation.

The WorkInConfidence online platform is cloud-based and easy to use on PC, phone or tablet. We are quick and easy to get started with, trusted by your people, insightful for your management and proven by our extensive user base.

WorkInConfidence joins up trusted employee voice with management insights into the state of your organisation so you can learn, develop and thrive, no matter your size.

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A safe and secure way for your people to anonymously raise concerns via phone, tablet, or PC, ensuring you are aware of any workplace issues and can respond quickly and accordingly
A secure online place to record, track, update, and report on all speaking up matters, whether raised through WorkInConfidence or directly.
Easily set up, run and interpret surveys on engagement, respect, wellness or other topics to ensure you always understand your people, their needs and motivations.
Demonstrate your commitment to collaboration with discussion boards to accelerate employee engagement and gain greater insights – anonymous if required.

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