Moving into the new year we will have some amendments to the Equality Act 2010.

The first of these will come into force on 1 Jan (Happy New Year, by the way), which will seek to retain existing EU law in line with the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023. The primary areas relate to pregnancy, maternity, and breastfeeding, indirect discrimination, access to employment, and comparators for equal pay claims. With the intention being that we are only keeping the law as it stands already, there shouldn’t be any changes that fall into place unexpectedly.

Where a change is being made, however, is to the sexual harassment section of the Equality Act in light of some recent high profile allegations. For those of you that joined us for Les’s seminar in November, you will already be aware of the content of the changes. For those of you who couldn’t make it – the bill was initially introduced as a means to prevent employees being harassed by third parties, introduce a duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment, and create an uplift of 25% on claims where said duty was not fulfilled. After much concern about how the protection from third party harassment would operate, it was removed from the bill prior to becoming law. However, the duty to prevent sexual harassment for employers and the uplift were signed into law on 26 October and will commence on the same day in 2024.