23 July 2021
Equity welcomes the Government’s response to their 2019 consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, which details their plans to tackle the longstanding and systemic issue.
The response, published on 21 June, states that the Government intends to "introduce a duty requiring employers to prevent sexual harassment, as we believe that this will encourage employers into taking positive proactive steps to make the workplace safer for everyone." They will also introduce explicit protections from third-party harassment. The Government will also "look closely at extending the time limit for bringing Equality Act 2010 based cases to the employment tribunal from 3 months to 6 months."
Equity has been long campaigning to address the sexual harassment crisis in the performing arts and entertainment industries and submitted to the 2019 consultation as part of our wider lobbying and policy work coming out of Agenda for Change (add a link to Agenda for Change/Safe Spaces). We also gave evidence in person to the Women and Equalities Committee in 2018 on these issues and recommended these and other related legislative changes.
Equity President Maureen Beattie said: "The Government's stated intention to place the onus on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace firmly in the hands of the employers, and their promise to give serious consideration to extending the time limit on Equality Act cases, are both very welcome and long overdue.
“So far, so good. Now we need the actions to suit the words. Victims have waited far too long for this already, so I look forward to the government making these changes a priority."
Equity is taking part in ongoing discussions with producers, employers, broadcasters and DCMS - most recently attending the Department's Bullying and Harassment Rountable on 22nd July. Our priority is make to change in workplaces and throughout the entertainment industries, whether through the development of clear and accessible reporting lines, auditing Dignity at Work policies or pushing for proper safeguarding provisions everywhere our members work.