Fuller’s to tackle sexual harassment following equality watchdog intervention

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Thousands of workers at Fuller’s will receive training to prevent sexual harassment, following a legal case supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The case involved claims from a young female former employee who suffered repeated incidents of sexual harassment while working as a kitchen assistant and waitress at a Fuller’s pub. A settlement agreement reached on the 13 June 2023 included an apology to the claimant for the behaviour she had experienced during her time with the company.

The worker was subjected to homophobic and misogynistic comments including remarks about her appearance and her partner over an extended period of time whilst she was working in one of Fullers pubs.

Allegedly, when she complained about the comments, after enduring them for several months, she was subjected to further derogatory behaviour and comments.

As part of the settlement, Fuller’s has apologised to the employee and agreed to implement mandatory sexual harassment training for kitchen and front of house staff across their national network of pubs.

All employers must take reasonable steps to protect their staff from harassment under the Equality Act 2010.

Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

“Nobody should suffer treatment of the kind this woman faced while trying to do her job.

“We hope this settlement will provide a sense of justice and enable her to move past this episode.

“We are pleased that Fuller’s has committed to taking steps to make sure their employees are protected from unacceptable harassment in the future. All employers should follow this example and ensure they are acknowledging and addressing the issue.

“As Britain’s equality regulator, we will continue to intervene in cases such as this and hold employers to account by using our unique powers.”

Notes to editors

  • Under the Equality Act, employers are legally responsible if an employee is sexually harassed at work by another employee and the employer has not taken all reasonable steps to prevent it from happening.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission is Great Britain’s national equality body and has been awarded an ‘A’ status as a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) by the United Nations.
  • Our job is to help make Britain fairer. We do this by safeguarding and enforcing the laws that protect people’s rights to fairness, dignity and respect.
  • The EHRC is a prescribed whistleblowing organisation, so if an employee has information that their employer is breaching equality law they can report their concerns to us.
  • If you think you might have been treated unfairly and want further advice, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service.
  • A number of companies have entered legal agreements with the EHRC to help protect their staff from sexual harassment. Previous examples include McDonalds and IKEA UK.
  • Government published the outcome of its Consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace in July 2021. Their research found more than half of women and two-thirds of LGBT people report experiencing workplace sexual harassment, and the problem is particularly acute in hospitality.
  • The vast majority of bar and waiting staff say they have either experienced or witnessed inappropriate sexual behaviour, and do not get management support to address it.
  • Last year, the EHRC launched a preventing sexual harassment at work: checklist and action plan to help venues to put appropriate structures in place to protect their employees.

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