Recruiters: Review Sexual Harassment Policies to Protect Workers
Government plans to ban firms from using non-disclosure agreements (“NDAs”) to stop victims of sexual harassment going to the police will be announced in the next few weeks. This will put pressure on recruiters to review their sexual harassment policies.
NDAs are frequently used in professional settings to prevent workers from publicising any sexual harassment, bullying or abuse complaints. Often NDAs are offered in exchange for financial settlements. This means that if the victim subsequently takes the complaint to the police, they may face severe financial penalties.
Before any legal obligations are imposed on firms to protect their workers, recruiters should review their sexual harassment complaints processes to ensure they are adequate and to ensure that workers are encouraged to report any misconduct at the earliest opportunity.
Recruiters will have the additional burden of having to make sure that the workers they supply to work for third-party clients are sufficiently protected by the client’s sexual harassment policies.
Serious discussions may therefore need to be had with clients. These include ensuring that client behavioural expectations are met; ensuring clients have adequate complaints procedures in place; and maybe even considering ceasing to work for any clients who take insufficient steps to safeguard the workers working for them.
Confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements may also need to be reviewed to comply with future legal changes, and recruiters should take any worker harassment concerns seriously and investigate them thoroughly.
This bulletin is for general guidance purposes only and should not be used for any other purpose.
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