Legal and Finance: Employers Face Strict New Rules on Harassment
Employers face paying out huge awards for racial harassment if they do not safeguard themselves against strict new rules being introduced this weekend, a Midlands employment lawyer has warned.
New racial harassment regulations come into force tomorrow , when the burden of proof will formally shift to employers to disprove discrimination in the workplace, rather than employees having to prove that they have been discriminated against.
The implications are very serious, because infringement of the new rules can result in hefty awards, says Tim Lang, a partner at Black Country law firm George Green.
'The maximum award is unlimited and guidelines say that pay-outs for injuries to feelings can be up to pounds 25,000, plus recompense for the financial losses of the person against whom discrimination has been proved,' said Mr Lang, who is based in George Green's Cradley Heath offices.
The regulations provide a new definition of racial harassment at work.
It is now defined as when, on grounds of race or ethnic or national origins, the employer engages in unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of either violating that other person's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him. …