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May 2008

What’s New?

Third party harassment of employees

An amendment to the Sex Discrimination Act has made an important change in this area.

How does it affect me?

The new rules provide that an Employer will be held liable for the harassment of one of its employees where:-

  • To the knowledge of the Employer a third party has subjected the employee to harassment in the course of employment on at least 2 other occasions


  • The Employer failed to take such steps as would have been reasonably practicable to prevent the third party from doing so


A ‘third party’ is anyone other than the Employer or anyone employed by the Employer

It is immaterial whether the third party is the same or a different person on each occasion

What do I Need to Do?

  • Consider when/how to risk manage situations when harassment might occur for instance, business entertaining and other events outside the workplace
  • Ensure that managers don t turn a blind eye to behaviour that could be regarded as amounting to harassment
  • Update Policies and Procedures to encourage employees to report any people/situations that they re uncomfortable with and behaviour which does or which (if allowed to continue) would amount to harassment
  • Since third parties will include clients, customers, contractors and suppliers consider including a Code of Conduct as part of your contract with them

Other News

Part-Time Workers

A recent decision has made it easier for part-time workers to bring discrimination claims.

They will succeed with their claims where they are treated less favourably than a full-time employee (where that less favourable treatment cannot be objectively justified) and their part-time status was one of the reasons for that less favourable treatment – they no longer need to show that their part-time status was the sole reason for that treatment.

If you have a query or would like to find out more about our services, please contact Paul Lane on 020 7712 1715 or email

Please note: The content of this Update does not constitute advice and it is not intended to be a comprehensive and definitive statement of the law. Advice should always be taken as to individual circumstances. Please refer to our Terms of Use.


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