14 July 2023 

We are pleased to see that the Worker Protection Bill is resuming safe passage through Parliament. Fawcett, along with our partners from across the women and equalities sector and the trade union movement, have campaigned for years to create the changes necessary to ensure more protection for women at work. It was this tenacious campaigning that resulted in the government committing to implementing a preventative duty and third party protections from sexual harassment back in 2021.

It is disappointing to see the way the government has backed away from the bill since that original commitment, and today we are saddened to see them walk away from their commitment to third party protections entirely. It is difficult to understand, given that half of working women will experience workplace sexual harassment, why they would omit this crucial part of the picture. Third party protections do not represent an infringement on free speech, and they do not change the definition of sexual harassment under law. We look forward to hearing more from government on their plans to legislate for the protections to which they originally committed.

But the introduction of a preventative duty on employers, when it comes, will be an enormous victory for all of the women who have lifted their heads above the parapet to demand change, not least Wera Hobhouse MP who has led this Private Members Bill, and the many Fawcett members who wrote to their MPs for answers. This is not Fawcett’s first campaign to improve workplace sexual harassment law, and once we win this one, we’ll only move on to fighting for the next.

More about the Worker Protection Bill

More from Fawcett on preventing sexual harassment