Third-party harassment laws, covered by Section 40 of the Act, stipulate that an employer will, in certain circumstances, be liable for the harassment of an employee where it is carried out by a third party, such as a customer or supplier.
However, earlier this year, the government launched a consultation on proposals to repeal these provisions as part of its efforts to reduce the amount of legislation faced by employers under its ‘Red Tape Challenge’.
And following the close of the consultation in August, the Home Office this week (October 10th) announced that it is to go ahead with plans to repeal the legislation.
In addition, the government is also to scrap the section of the Act which grants employment tribunals the power to make wider recommendations to employers in workplace discrimination cases.
“In our view, the types of recommendations made in the tribunal cases so far show that in practice, wider recommendations have tended to be obvious and non-technical,” it said.
Reacting to the announcement, the TUC claimed that the repeals will make it easier for employers to discriminate against staff and “let bad bosses off the hook”.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the plans “make a mockery of the claim that equality is at the heart of this coalition government”.
“Getting rid of third party harassment will make working life even harder for the thousands of care home staff, teachers and health workers who suffer prejudice and abuse from those they are trying to help,” he said.
“And taking away the power of tribunals to make recommendations to employers will make it much more difficult to deal with employers who serially bully and discriminate against their staff.”