On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) released guidance for UK employers on dealing with harassment in the workplace. Vault Platform was one of the organisations invited to comment on the document when it was being put together in 2019 and we welcome any guidance that helps employers understand their legal responsibility on how they should prevent and respond to harassment and victimisation at work. We also welcome suggestions that employers should look to provide employees with a safe and confidential mechanism for reporting misconduct.
The EHRC identifies “a lack of appropriate reporting procedures” as a key factor in the under-reporting of workplace harassment:
“The scale of harassment that we and others have found is disturbing – and has been largely hidden due to under-reporting. Low reporting rates have often been taken by employers to mean that harassment is uncommon in their workplace. In fact, a lack of reported incidents could reflect an absence of confidence in reporting and resolution procedures, indicating an even greater problem.”
The guidance confirms that employers are legally required to take steps to prevent and respond to harassment, including a suggestion that employers should “consider using a reporting system that allows workers to raise an issue anonymously or in name.”
Vault Platform supports this consideration because the absence of effective reporting tools can only maintain the status quo of under-reporting of misconduct.
Neta Meidav, co-founder and CEO of Vault Platform, a misconduct reporting and resolution technology for the enterprise, said: “We welcome the EHRC guidelines, and the clear call to action for employers to consider how employees may feel safe to speak up and report misconduct. We have seen from recent examples how the credibility of existing systems such as confidential hotlines and open door policies, even at leading companies, is pretty much shot to pieces. Employers are beginning to understand there are far better technological and more trusted solutions out there for reporting instances of harassment and misconduct. These guidelines help identify these solutions as the new standard of employee protection, and in turn, protection for the enterprise.”
To help UK businesses better prepare for compliance with this guidance Vault Platform has introduced a concise toolkit detailing support for such a misconduct reporting system as specified in the guidance.