Duty on employers to take reasonable steps
The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 (starting 2024) will introduce a duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Compensation awards also increase by up to 25% where employers breach the duty.
Ever since #MeToo highlighted it, it’s been very clear that workplace harassment is far too prevalent:
- Over 1 in 2 women and nearly 7 out of 10 LGBT workers are sexually harassed in the workplace.
- Four-fifths of women and sixty-six per cent of LGBT workers, do not feel able to report it.
That hurt lives and costs you your reputation, performance, retention, recruitment. With this law change to the Workers Protection Bill, it will now cost you even more if you don’t get this right.
Call to action to implement anonymous reporting channels
The CIPD, the Institute of Business Ethics, The Harvard Business Review and the TUC, are all independently recommending the implementation of anonymous reporting channels in any robust Speaking Up Process. It shouldn’t take legislation to make change, but perhaps now is the time to stop assuming that it’s OK and act.
These channels allow employees to report incidents or concerns while preserving their anonymity. Anonymous Speak Up, from WorkInConfidence is a platform that enables employees to voice their concerns without fear of retaliation. These tools are crucial for creating an environment where employees feel safe reporting harassment.
4 Key things you can implement to protect your employees
- Introduce an Anonymous, two-way reporting channel as an additional method for people to report incidents of inappropriate behaviour. An independent reporting channel removes the fear barrier of reporting to a line manager.
- Conduct Anonymous staff surveys that contextualise sexual harassment for the workplace and different groups of workers such as those with protected characteristics.
- 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
- 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.
HR addressing the issue
HR professionals should be equipped to handle various forms of workplace conflict. This includes implementing conflict resolution training and establishing a fair grievance process. By promoting open communication and resolving issues as they arise, HR can contribute to a more harmonious work environment.
Empower employees to raise concerns safely
If you’re goal is to create a safer and more engaged workplace, let’s have a chat. Book your personalised demonstration of WorkInConfidence Employee Engagement Platform and see for yourself how we can help your organisation make your workplace a safer environment for your all your people.
We can have you up and running with your speaking up process in a matter of days and make your workplace a safer environment for all.