Code of Practice on “Harassment”

The Employment Equality Act 1998 (Code of Practice) (Harassment) Order 2012 was published in the Official Gazette (Iris Oifigúil) on 19th of June 2012 from which date it sets out the current law. It replaces the Employment Equality Act 1998 (Code of Practice) (Harassment) Order 2002.

The code aims to provide guidance on what is meant by sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace, how it may be prevented and what steps to take if it occurs. It seeks to promote the development and implementation of policies and procedures ensuring that working environments are free of harassment. The code is applicable to all employments, employment agencies, trade unions, employer bodies and professional bodies which are covered by the Employment Equality Act. It deals with sexual harassment and with harassment based on the grounds of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, disability, age, race, religious belief and membership of the Traveller Community.

While this code does not impose any legal obligations, it is admissible in evidence and will be taken into account in any proceedings if any of the provisions of the code appear relevant.

Employers should put in place or review existing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the provisions as contained in part 4 and 5 of the code. Part 4 sets out the elements which the policy should include and part 5 provides guidance on the complaints procedure to be included in the employer’s policy. Any new policy introduced by the employer or any review should be made accessible to all relevant parties and sufficiently published.

If you need any advice on the implementation of the changes imposed by this order, please contact us.