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Law: Amendment to Sex Discrimination Laws

New regulations amend certain parts of the Sex Discrimination Act as follows:

  • Harassment

    The current law stated a person subjects a woman to harassment if, on the grounds of her sex, he engages in unwanted conduct that has the purpose and effect of violating her dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for her.

    The amendment changes “on the grounds of her sex” to “related to her sex or that of another person”.

    The level of proof for a complainant is therefore reduced to show the alleged treatment was simply connected or associated with the person’s sex and additionally not that it took place because the complainant was a woman or man.

  • Employer liability for harassment by third party

    The amendment requires an employer to take reasonably practicable steps to protect employees from third party harassment where such harassment is known to have occurred on at least two occasions. As examples the third party could be a customer, a sales rep etc.

  • New discrimination rights for employees on maternity leave

    Various amendments are included which include discrimination for non payment of a discretionary bonus payable during the two weeks following childbirth. Furthermore the discrimination claims available during ordinary maternity leave are extended to the period of additional leave period.

    These particular amendments relate to women whose expected week of childbirth falls on or after 5 October 2008.

    Visit or call 0870 26 77 118 for more information.

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