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March 16, 2022

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Workplace violence

UK approves treaty tackling violence at work

Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey has deposited a treaty tackling workplace violence, completing the ratification process for the UK.

harassment claimsOn Monday 7 March 2022, the UK Government became the 11th country to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s Violence and Harassment Convention. This is the first international treaty to recognise everyone’s right to a workplace free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.

The treaty was deposited to the ILO in Geneva by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey. In plans to go further, the Government will introduce a new duty on employers, requiring them to take steps to prevent their employees from experiencing sexual harassment and introduce explicit protections for employees from harassment by third parties, such as customers and clients.

These measures aim to strengthen protections for those affected by harassment at work and motivate employers to make improvements to workplace practices and culture. The UK Government is supporting the Equality and Human Rights Commission to produce a statuary Code of Practice on sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace and is creating guidance for employers on how they can take action to protect those at risk.

Work and Pensions Secretary of State, Thérèse Coffey, said: “I hope that by the UK and others taking this step, our international friends will join us in ratifying this convention and demonstrate their commitment to upholding these values.”

Safeguarding Minister, Rachel Maclean, said: “The safety of everyone in our country, wherever they are, is our priority. No one should have to be in fear of violence in any space, including in their place of work.

“By ratifying this convention, we are taking another step to eradicating violence of all forms and ensuring everyone is able to flourish without fear in their workplace.”

The Convention will come into force 12 months from today, the date the Instrument of Ratification is deposited with the International Labour Organisation.

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