Simon Loy ( HR partner at Eversheds' Newcastle office ( reports on changes in laws governing sexual harassment.
The European Amended Equal Treatment Directive (2002/03) has required some changes to the UK's discrimination legislation.
In many respects, the changes simply clarify the existing law and so the new laws will not impact significantly upon current business practice. However, one of the main changes is the introduction of a definition of sexual harassment.
Although the concept of sexual harassment has been recognised through case law, there has until recently been no statutory definition of sexual harassment.
A new statutory definition of harassment has now been introduced by the Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations 2005, in force from October last year.
The regulations, which amend the Sex Discrimination Act, provide that a person may not be treated less favourably because of their submission to or rejection of conduct amounting to harassment.
Harassment will be unlawful in the following situations:
* Sex-based harassment ( is unwanted conduct on grounds of the victim's sex that has the purpose or effect of violating dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment (sex-related …