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Third Party Harassment Law repealed

The introduction of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) set out to achieve two primary objectives - to simplify and harmonise existing discrimination laws by bringing them all under one Act and to strengthen the law to afford individuals more protection.

One of the more controversial provision of the EqA 2010 legislation was that an Employer could be vicariously liable for harassment by a third party (such as a client or a contractor) if:

  1. that third party had harassed an employee on at least two previous occasions; and
  2. the employer had failed to take reasonably practicable steps to stop the harassment.

However with effect from 1 October 2013, Employers will no longer be liable for harassment by a third party as the third-party harassment provisions in section 40(2)-(4) of the Equality Act 2010 have been repealed courtesy of The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA) which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013.

Other changes you can expect to see in the coming months as a result of The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA) include:

  • Health and safety duties. Changing the liability for breaches of health and safety duties.  1 October 2013.
  • Acas mandatory early conciliation. Claimants to contact Acas before submitting tribunal claim. 6 April 2014.
  • Acas: "relevant proceedings". Power for government to add to list of claims in which Acas can conciliate. 6 April 2014.
  • Financial penalties for losing employers. Tribunals to have the power to fine an employer up to £5,000 (payable to the government) if they lose and their case has "aggravating features".  Date TBC. Cannot apply to claims brought before 25 October 2013 or date section comes force (whichever is later).
  • Discrimination questionnaires. Abolishing statutory discrimination questionnaires by repealing section 138 of the EqA 2010.  6 April 2014.

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