A package of 12 announcements has been launched by the government to tackle sexual harassment at work.
As part of the new code of practice, the government will consult on the evidence base for introducing a new legal duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Responding to the Women and Equalities Select Committee report, the Government Equalities Office has promised to carry out awareness raising work with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and employers, on how to prevent and address sexual harassment at work.
The government will also consult on:
•How to strengthen and clarify the laws in relation to third party harassment;
•Ensure the public sector takes action to tackle and prevent sexual harassment;
•Work with regulators for whom sexual harassment is particularly relevant to ensure they are taking appropriate action;
•Consider whether further learnings can be taken from the criminal justice system to use in the employment tribunal system, to ensure vulnerable claimants have appropriate protection.
Minister for women Victoria Atkins said: “Sexual harassment at work is illegal, but sadly that disgusting behaviour is something that many women still experience today.
“We are taking action to make sure employers know what they have to do to protect their staff, and people know their rights at work and what action to take if they feel intimidated or humiliated. Everyone has the right to feel safe at work.”
Business minister Kelly Tolhurst said that part of the discrimination and harassment women face at work is, in the minority of cases, where non-disclosure agreements are used unethically, and employees may not be aware of their protections and rights.
Going beyond the recommendations in the Women and Equalities Select Committee report, the government has promised to consult on whether additional protections are needed for volunteers and interns - looking at all the protections in the Equality Act 2010, not just those on sexual harassment.
It will also look to explore the evidence for extending the time limits to bring any workplace discrimination and harassment case under the Equality Act 2010 to an employment tribunal.