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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – The New Laws

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

As previously mentioned in our article ‘Is having an Anti-Harassment Policy in place a valid defence to a Discrimination claim?’ , the Government has now passed new legislation to enhance employer’s duties to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 is set to take effect in October 2024 and will introduce significant changes on the employer’s obligation to protect its employees. Combining this newly passed law with the ONS’s recently published analysis of harassment within England and Wales, which showed that a quarter of those who had experienced sexual harassment said it occurred at their place of work, it’s imperative that employers understand the new law and what it means for them.

The most significant change involves the new duty for an employer to “take reasonable steps” to prevent their employees from experiencing workplace sexual harassment. Unhelpfully, what constitutes as “reasonable steps” is not defined in the legislation. However, the legislation’s shift to requiring employers to have a proactive approach on preventing sexual harassment seems to suggest that Employment Tribunals will consider whether an organisation has robust, regularly updated, and genuinely enforced sexual harassment policies in place, ensuring they are readily available to all staff.

The introduction of the “reasonable steps” should act as a prompt for employers to consider what steps they are already taking to prevent harassment from arising within their organisation. Some key practical and proactive steps should include:

  • Reviewing and updating Anti-Harassment Policies and ensuring they are readily available among all staff.
  • Carrying out training that is genuine and not merely a ‘tick box’ exercise or it could be considering falling short of having taken “reasonable steps”.
  • Establishing or reviewing whether the organisation has a reporting register for complaints, ensuring all employees understand how to report any kind of workplace harassment.

For further guidance, please reach out to our Employment Law team.

Amy Lee


Amy Lee


Amy is often the first point of contact for clients of the employment team.