Concerns raised about Protection Bill

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Free speech fears: Staff could sue bosses under new bill (Getty/ SeventyFour)
Free speech fears: Staff could sue bosses under new bill (Getty/ SeventyFour)

Related tags Legislation Finance Social responsibility Health and safety

Staff could sue employers if customers offended them under the proposed Workers Protection Bill, but trade bodies are concerned about its delivery.

The bill would bring in a duty for employers to take preventative steps to stop harassment by a third party, such as a customer, contractor or supplier, in workplaces including pubs and bars.

Staff may be able to sue their employer if reasonable measures haven’t been taken.

The private member’s bill would amend the Equality Act if passed into law. It will include a duty for employers employers to prevent sexual harassment. 

Working together

Employers are already liable for discrimination in the workplace. But, the bill states if an employer fails to take steps to prevent sexual harassment, and the employee brings a successful claim for compensation, there is scope for compensation to be hiked by up to 25%.

UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “UKH is working with Government officials and the sponsors of the Worker Protection Bill to make them aware of the hospitality sector’s concerns and also make it fit for purpose for the sector.

“The proposed legislation will introduce a requirement for pragmatic policies that protect staff and, as protecting staff from harassment is already a priority for the sector, the vast majority of venues will already have these policies in place."

Expressing concerns

She said the trade body would continue to work with the Government and MPs on the Bill as it continued its journey through Parliament.

Steve Alton, British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) commented: “At a time where pub businesses are facing the most extreme and exceptional trading pressures, further legislation has to be measured and reasonable.

“Our members continue to work really hard on creating a safe and accessible place for customers and team members alike.

“While the intention of the proposed bill is to offer a greater degree of protection for everyone, we have concerns about its delivery, particularly where an operator could face legal consequences through no fault of their own.”

Related topics Legislation

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