Bosses set for end of third party harassment rule

The government is asking employers for their view on plans to scrap legislation that makes bosses liable for harassment of their employees by customers or clients.

The consultation, which was launched on 15 May and continues until 7 August, focuses on a third party harassment provision originally introduced in 2008 and included in the Equality Act 2010.

The legislation as it stands imposes a liability on employers for harassment of their employees by third parties over whom they do not have direct control, such as customers and suppliers.

In an introduction to the consultation document, Home Secretary Theresa May and Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone say: “Most businesses do everything they can to ensure that their employees can work in an environment free from harassment, whatever its source.

“As well as being the right thing to do, this is just good business sense as it leads to a happier, better-motivated workforce.

“But, in the meantime, the third party harassment provisions remain on the statute book, creating a potential regulatory burden on business to no apparent good purpose.”

The document also says it is aware of only one case of the third party harassment provisions having been ruled on by an employment tribunal.

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