Amendments to the Equality Act 2010
With effect from 1 October 2013 the provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) which protected an employee from third party harassment are being repealed.
Section 40 of the EqA 2010 provided an employer would be vicariously liable for harassment by a third party such as a contractor or a customer if there were at least two occasions of harassment and the employer had failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it.
The repeal of this section leaves us back in the position set out by case law which established that whilst an employer’s failure to protect an employee from sexual/racial harassment may amount to discrimination, it will only do so if the employer’s failure to protect the employee was based upon the employee’s sex/race.
If you have any questions on this topic, or any other area of employment law, please contact Christina Merrington.