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Third party harassment provisions in Equality Act to be repealed

19 Sep 2013, 13:02 by Priya Bakshi

Labels: barrister, direct-access, employee, employer, harrassment, legal-advice, public-access

Under section 40 of the Equality Act 2010 an employer can be liable if their employees are harassed by third parties where: 

  • The third party harasses the employee in the course of employment; 
  • The employer fails to take such reasonable steps as would have been reasonably practicable to prevent the harassment; and 
  • The employer knew that the employee had been harassed by a third party on at least two other occasions. 

This is now being repealed, with effect from 1 October 2013, under The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. However employers will still have a duty to protect workers. Employees who suffer harassment from third parties will not be left unprotected. Depending on the circumstances of the case, there will be other possible ways to make a claim using the exiting legal framework. Some include:

(1) Equality Act 2010 - the general harassment provisions remain intact.

(2) Protection from Harassment Act 1997 - provides the employee protection from harassment and imposes liability on the third party directly.

(3) Constructive Dismissal - could be argued that the harassment amounts to a fundamental breach of their employment contract entitling them to resign. 

Legal advice can be sought from a barrister through a solicitor, or alternatively directly from a barrister under direct access.


Legal Privilege is only for qualified lawyers

11 Jul 2008, 09:20 by Robert Rees

Labels: employee, employer, employment-appeal, legal-advice, public-access, settlement

Many companies, and an increasing number of employees, are utilising consultancy or Internet companies to resolve workplace disputes, rather than a firm of solicitors or a barrister. A recent decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal confirms that legal privilege does not attach to communications between these unqualified representatives and their clients.

What does this mean for you? Let's say an employee or an employer took legal advice from one of these companies prior to raising or dealing with a grievance. If the dispute subsequently went to an employment tribunal, that party could be forced to disclose the legal advice he or she received. This could be very harmful to settlement negotiations, especially if the legal advice was the not-so-uncommon "Your prospects are weak but you should proceed in the hope of settlement!"

Advice from barristers to their clients in employment disputes is always confidential, and can't be produced in evidence at the tribunal. New Walk Chambers has public access barristers who can provide valuable and tactical advice at a reasonable cost. If done at an early stage this can ensure that you don't put a foot wrong later and risk failure in any subsequent tribunal case.

Please contact us with any queries.

Written by Robert Rees, Direct Access Barrister at New Walk Chambers, specialising in Employment Law.


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The New Walk Chambers Blog page is only intended to provide an accessible forum for a general overview and discussion of the topics posted on it. It is not meant to be a substitute for taking legal advice in any particular situation and should not be so used. Neither New Walk Chambers nor the author(s) accept any responsibility for anything done or not done on the basis of the contents of the Blog page.

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