What do I need to do as a business, if an employee is being sexually harassed by one of our customers?

Firstly, take this seriously! Don’t brush it off because it’s a customer or a supplier, you need to investigate this matter thoroughly and make sure that your employee is ok.

Such a sensitive matter needs to be handled with care and sensitivity and you should seek HR advice to help you manage this matter in the right way.

The government has published its response to a consultation on workplace sexual harassment, confirming a new duty for employers to prevent sexual and customer or third-party harassment. This is likely to include a defence where an employer has taken “all reasonable steps” to prevent the harassment. Therefore a thorough investigation and taking the appropriate action as a result of your findings is crucial.

The government is also set to consider extending the time limits for claims relating to harassment  under the Equality Act 2010 from the current three month period to six months, but has not yet committed to making any changes.