Preventing workplace harassment is no longer a 'nice to have', it's essential. For too long, organisations have adopted a reactionary approach to harassment in the workplace, tackling incidents on an individual basis as and when they arise.
But we know this approach doesn't work. Not least because employees often don't feel confident enough to tell their employer about harassment until it's too late, and they've either exited the business or blown the whistle.
Harassment can occur in any setting, not just the workplace. But if it does occur at work then the employer can be liable unless they can show they took all reasonable steps to prevent it.
With the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) using its enforcement powers to come down on employers who are failing to protect people from harassment, it's more important than ever to take a preventative approach.
The first high-profile case of this was in August 2020, when Sainsbury’s had to sign a legally binding agreement with EHRC, after being found liable for sexual harassment against a member of staff.
Sainsbury's has since been joined by Highways England, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Pontins. For Highways England this follows an employment tribunal which resulted in awarding a staff member £74,000 in compensation for sexual harassment and unfair dismissal.
The EHRC outlines a seven step approach to tackling harassment, which includes considering the use of a reporting platform to allow employees to raise issues anonymously. Culture Shift has years of experience successfully implementing Report + Support ™ in workplaces, allowing employees to safely and confidently speak out about harassment and enabling employers to prevent issues escalating.
Failing to take the EHRC’s required steps could open your organisation up to significant financial and reputational risk – so act now before it’s too late.