Silencing Sexual Harassment: The Power of the Worker Protection Act 2023

Silencing Sexual Harassment: The Power of the Worker Protection Act 2023

The enactment of the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 in Great Britain marks a pivotal advancement in tackling workplace sexual harassment and safeguarding workers’ rights.

This legislation, which received Royal Assent on October 26, 2023, with a compliance date of October 27, 2024, mandates ALL UK employers, irrespective of workforce size, to proactively implement measures ensuring adherence to sexual harassment prevention regulations.

While the Act specifically addresses workplace sexual harassment, it’s crucial to note that other forms of harassment or discrimination, such as those based on age, race, disability, religion, gender, and sexual orientation, are already prohibited under the Equality Act 2010.

The new regulations under the Worker Protection Act 2023 will directly impact businesses across England, Wales, and Scotland. 

This legislation reflects a recognition that existing regulations were inadequate in preventing workplace sexual harassment and underscores the commitment to creating safer and more equitable work environments for all employees. By mandating action from employers, the Act aims to address systemic issues, promote accountability, and empower workers to report instances of sexual harassment without fear of retaliation.

Employers will need to revamp and update their policies, procedures, and training programs to ensure compliance with the new regulations. This may include implementing clearer reporting mechanisms, providing comprehensive training on preventing and responding to sexual harassment, and fostering a culture of respect and accountability within the workplace.

Overall, the Worker Protection Act represents a positive step towards creating more inclusive and supportive work environments, where all employees are treated with dignity and respect, free from harassment and discrimination.

Here’s an overview of the Act in non-legal jargon.

  • Enhanced Protections: The Worker Protection Act 2023 represents an update to the Equality Act 2010, bolstering employee protections with a specific emphasis on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Proactive Prevention: This legislation shifts the focus from reactive measures to proactive prevention, aiming to stop sexual harassment before it happens rather than solely addressing it after the fact.
  • Empowering Employers: Employers in Great Britain will now have a heightened duty to safeguard their employees from sexual harassment. This entails embracing a “Preventative Duty” and taking “Reasonable Steps” to foster a safer, more respectful work environment.
  • Steeper Penalties for Non-Compliance: The Worker Protection Act 2023 introduces increased penalties for employers who neglect their duty to prevent sexual harassment. If an employee successfully files a claim for sexual harassment within the workplace and the employer is found to have breached their preventative duty, employment tribunals have the authority to boost compensation by up to 25%. This measure aims to incentivise employers to prioritise proactive sexual harassment prevention measures.

In summary, the Worker Protection Act 2023 aims to spur employers into action by emphasising proactive steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, rather than merely reacting to incidents after they occur. This legislation marks a significant stride toward cultivating a workplace culture centred on respect, equality, and safety.

Reasonable steps

The important phrase here is take ‘reasonable steps’. However, as of now, there hasn’t been a set definition for what “reasonable steps” will mean in practice. It is likely that these “reasonable steps” will be fact-specific and based on the size of the employer and the resources the employer has at its disposal.

Employers in the UK now have a legal duty to work preventatively — and not retrospectively — to address sexual harassment in the workplace. The Act ensures that employers must take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of employees in the course of their employment.” This extends to when employees are working outside of their office, and when they are attending social events that are considered an extension of work.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is developing a fresh statutory code of practice on workplace sexual harassment to align with the updated duties under the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023. As part of this process, is actively engaged on the consultation panel, providing valuable insights to facilitate the smooth transition to the revised code of practice. This collaborative effort highlights a commitment to enhancing protections against sexual misconduct in the workplace and ensuring that employers and employees alike are well-equipped to address and prevent such behaviour. 

‘Reasonable Steps’ will mean employers will be mandated to:

  • Maintain and communicate standalone, up-to-date policies specifically dedicated to preventing sexual harassment, distinct from your general bullying and harassment policy.
  • Provide regular, recognised sexual harassment prevention training to employees at all levels.
  • Establish company-regulated reporting procedures and investigative measures.

An Employers Preventative Duty

Employers hold a fundamental preventative duty under the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023, necessitating proactive measures to combat workplace sexual harassment. This duty involves maintaining current and comprehensive stop sexual harassment policies that are easily accessible and clearly communicated to all employees. Regular, effective, and comprehensive sexual harassment prevention training should be provided across all levels of the organisation to promote awareness, sensitivity, and appropriate conduct. Additionally, employers must establish transparent reporting mechanisms and robust investigative procedures to swiftly address and resolve any reported incidents of sexual harassment. By fulfilling this preventative duty, employers demonstrate a commitment to fostering respectful and safe workplaces for all employees.

Steps for Adhering to Workplace Sexual Harassment Regulations:

Preparing your Great Britain-based company to meet the requirements of the new Worker Protection Act 2023 involves strategic planning and proactive measures.

Here’s a roadmap to guide you through the compliance process:

  1. Assess Sexual Harassment Risks: Initiate discussions with employees or advisors willing to share insights and experiences regarding potential workplace risks. This collaborative effort can illuminate areas of concern and inform preventive measures.
  2. Update Training and Communication: Implement comprehensive training sessions and distribute updated materials that reinforce company policies and procedures on sexual harassment prevention. Display clear signage in the workplace to reaffirm commitment to maintaining a safe and respectful environment.
  3. Revise Anti-Harassment Policies: Refine in-house anti-harassment policies to align with specific business needs and ensure clarity. Simplify the process for reporting incidents of sexual harassment, emphasising confidentiality and safety for employees.

By proactively addressing these steps, you not only mitigate risks of workplace sexual harassment but also safeguard your company’s reputation and legal standing. 

Employment Tribunals will assess the effectiveness of these preventive and responsive measures when evaluating compensation claims, underscoring the importance of thorough compliance efforts.

Discover how can guide your compliance journey with the Worker Protection Act 2023.

How We Can Assist:

As you prepare for the implementation of the Act, consider leveraging our expertise to streamline the process:

  • Policy Review and Updates: We’ll help you review, refine, and redistribute your preventative sexual harassment policies, ensuring they align seamlessly with the new regulations.
  • Tailored Training Programs: Our team can deliver customised sexual harassment prevention training designed to go above and beyond an employer’s statutory duty. Our training isn’t just a checkbox solution—it’s a comprehensive program that equips your employees with the latest strategies and insights, ensuring they understand not only what’s required by law but also how to cultivate a respectful and inclusive workplace culture.
  • Establishing Clear Reporting Channels: We’ll assist in setting up transparent reporting pathways for complaints, ensuring employees are aware of who to go to and how to access and utilise this framework effectively.
  • Responsive Support: Count on us to promptly respond to and address any concerns or queries that arise during this transition period.
  • Risk Assessments: Collaborate with us to conduct comprehensive risk assessments tailored to your organisation’s unique needs.

At, our commitment to supporting your organisation extends beyond the initial training and policy implementation phase.

As a leading authority, policymakers, businesses, and public bodies turn to us for guidance as the UK’s only company dedicated solely to the notoriously complex subject of eradicating sexual harassment within the workplace.

We believe in ongoing collaboration and assistance to ensure sustained compliance and a culture of respect. Our team remains available to address any evolving concerns, provide additional guidance as needed, and conduct periodic reviews to keep your policies and practices up to date. By partnering with us, you gain a dedicated ally in promoting a safe and inclusive workplace environment where every employee feels valued and protected from sexual harassment. 


It’s crucial to emphasise that the information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Laws and regulations can be complex and subject to interpretation, and the details and requirements of specific legislation may vary.

If you have questions or concerns about the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 or any other applicable laws and their implications for your organisation, it’s essential to consult with your legal counsel. Legal professionals can provide tailored guidance based on the unique circumstances of your organisation and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Ultimately, while resources like this overview can provide valuable insights and general information, consulting with is essential for addressing specific matters and ensuring that your organisation meets its obligations under the law.

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