In order to help employers comply with their duty of care to protect staff from unlawful discrimination, the Law Society has published some practical steps it recommends that every employer should follow.
The Law Society guidance is as follows:
- Visibly set out and openly communicate a zero-tolerance approach to harassment.
- Senior Management should use any internal resources available – eg. Employee Handbook, statements, intranet, noticeboards and similar to communicate a zero-tolerance message.
- Line Managers should deal with complaints quickly, effectively and without conscious or unconscious bias.
- Employers should have written policies covering bullying and harassment, grievance procedures and whistleblowing.
- Policies should be up to date, easily available to staff and clearly outline the support available.
- To help staff understand their legal rights and responsibilities training should be given to all staff on equality and diversity, anti-discrimination legislation (eg. Equality Act 2010) and the employer’s policies and procedures.
- Data and insights
- To gather employee’s insights, anonymous staff surveys should be carried out at least once a year. Specific questions on experiences of workplace harassment may help to identify areas of risk.
- Exit interviews can provide insight into whether harassment played a part in a deci-sion to leave the business.
- The most important element to address workplace discrimination is to create an in-clusive and supportive culture where inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated and where complaints are always taken seriously and followed-up.
- Identify a member of your HR team and a senior manager to act as key contact points with whom staff can raise a workplace harassment problem.
- Policies should set out timescales and clear informal and formal processes. Always provide appropriate support such as mediation, counselling and training.
- Consider establishing a group of trained staff – “Champions” – who staff can approach with any concerns.
- Employees should feel empowered and supported to discuss workplace harassment, confident that concerns will be addressed with transparency, objectivity and consistency.
The full Law Society guidance can be found here.
For further assistance or advice about the topics raised in this blog please contact our Employment Law Department either:-
- By calling 01924 387 110
- Requesting a call back
- Or visiting our free Employment Clinic in our Horsforth office every Monday 9am-10am & 12p-2pm