EHRC guidance on harassment

New guidance on how to prevent and respond to harassment and victimisation at work has been published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work: Technical Guidance explains employers’ legal responsibilities and also provides advice for workers to help them understand the law and their employer’s obligations to prevent harassment and victimisation, or to respond to their complaint.

It explains the different forms that harassment and victimisation can take under the Equality Act. It also reiterates that certain types of behaviour such as physical gestures, jokes or pranks, banter and physical behaviour towards a person or their property, can amount to harassment or sexual harassment even if that is not how it was intended by the perpetrator.

The basic 7 steps which the EHRC recommends every employer should consider taking are:

  1. Develop an effective anti-harassment policy
  2. Engage staff with regular one-to-ones and have an open-door policy
  3. Assess and mitigate risks in the workplace
  4. Consider using a reporting system that allows workers to raise an issue anonymously or in name
  5. Train staff on what sexual harassment in the workplace looks like, what to do if workers experience it and how to handle complaints
  6. Act immediately when a harassment complaint is made
  7. Treat harassment by a third-party just as seriously as that by a colleague