The Government is consulting on proposals to repeal the third-party harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010.
Under s.40 of the Equality Act 2010, an employer will be treated as having harassed an employee where the harassment is carried out by a third party, for example a customer or supplier, if:
- the harassment occurs during the course of the employee's employment;
- the employer knew that the employee was harassed on at least two previous occasions by a third party; and
- the employer failed to take such steps as would have been reasonably practicable to prevent the harassment from taking place.
The Government proposes to repeal these provisions on the basis that there is "no evidence to suggest that the third-party harassment provisions are serving a practical purpose or are an appropriate or proportionate manner of dealing with the type of conduct that they are intended to cover" and because their repeal would help to meet the Government's aim of "reducing the stock of unnecessary regulation". The consultation document sets out the alternative legal routes for employees who have been harassed by a third party.
The consultation document asks respondents about their experiences of third-party harassment and how employers and employees have dealt with it.
The closing date for submissions is 7 August 2012. The Government intends to publish its response within three months of the end of the consultation period.
Policies and documents on harassment The XpertHR policies and documents section includes a dignity at work policy, a policy on dealing with harassment complaints and a policy on investigating claims of bullying and harassment.
The XpertHR FAQs section answers questions on third-party harassment:
Line manager briefing on bullying and harassment This line manager briefing covers the topic of bullying and harassment and aims to provide guidance on what managers should do to reduce the likelihood of incidents of bullying and harassment at work and deal effectively with any complaints of bullying or harassment that may arise.