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Sexual harassment at work code of practice criticised for failure to put onus on employers to protect workers

Author: Aamna Mohdin, The Guardian, Published on: 18 December 2018

The government will introduce a new statutory code of practice to tackle sexual harassment at work, following a damning report from parliament’s women and equalities committee that called for new laws to protect workers, but campaigners say the response falls short of properly tackling the issue.

The committee welcomed the government’s response to its report, but criticised it for not committing to a duty on employers to protect workers from harassment and victimisation and sanctions for employers who fail to comply with the code.

The committee [...] said: “[M]inisters have woken up and have agreed to our recommendation of a statutory code of practice. But they have missed the opportunity to place a greater onus on employers to protect workers from harassment and to increase sanctions for poor practice. Just keeping an eye on how employment tribunals respond to the new code is inadequate.”

[A] spokesperson for the Women’s Equality Party said ...: “Without imposing a clear duty on employers the government is shirking its responsibility too. But the #metoo movement is a reckoning that demands both repercussions for violence against women and clear political responsibility to actively reduce harm...”

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