Despite everything else that is going on, it is advisable to give regular thought to whether you have adequate arrangements in place to deal with harassment and discrimination.
Why? Because good policies and good, regular training for employees can give an employer a defence in law to a harassment claim, on the basis that you took “all reasonable steps” to prevent harassment occurring.
What is “good” in this context? For the latest guidance, let us look at a decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal that was published last week. In the case, the employer failed to establish the legal defence to a claim of racial harassment because:
- Its “Anti-harassment and Bullying” policy did not specifically deal with harassment and certainly not with racial harassment;
- It had provided “unimpressive” diversity training to the workforce that did not expressly deal with race at all – this is an issue with some types of diversity training in that they do not actually address the difficult legal concepts of harassment and discrimination;
- inaction by managers who heard some of the racist “banter” demonstrated that the training had been or had become ineffective;
- the company had not refreshed the training after 2-3 years;
- even by the standards expected of a relatively small employer, it had not done enough.
Its investment in policies and training was therefore wasted.
We can help you with robust and comprehensive policies and we deliver training on the key legal concepts that will complement any other diversity training you provide. Please get in touch for more information.