Repeal of third-party harassment legislation
Third-party harassment provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010 have been repealed from 1 October 2013.
The provisions provided protection for employees against third-party harassment such as from customers, visitors and clients. They gave a legal remedy if the employer knew that a third party had harassed an employee on at least two other occasions and failed to take reasonably practicable steps to prevent it.
The Government explained the repeal by saying that the provisions had been little used since their introduction, citing only one related employment tribunal case. It also said it was 'unfair' that employers should have to worry about harassment from people 'over whom they have no control', particularly 'when there are already legal remedies which may be available where an employee is in this position'.
Although the 'three strikes' aspect of the provision has been repealed, legal experts believe that employees still have protection under the general harassment provisions set out in the Equality Act 2010.
The repeal was one of the many changes to employment law embodied in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act. Acas can help you and your organisation stay abreast of developments in legislation through its Employment law update events.
Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.