// Sainsbury’s has signed an agreement under Section 23 of the Equality Act 2006
// The retailer was found liable for sexual harassment against a staff member
Sainsbury’s has signed a legally-binding document with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) after being held liable for sexual harassment against a staff member.
The Big 4 grocer was ordered to pay £9585 in damages to a former worker in August last year for failure to take reasonable steps after a male colleague threatened to rape the female staff member.
Equality watchdog EHRC said that Sainsbury’s has now signed an agreement under Section 23 of the Equality Act 2006, which means it will have to take steps in preventing harassment.
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It includes preparing a discrimination guide for line managers and employees, advising staff on how to deal with harassment, introducing effective training for colleagues and providing regular reports to the EHRC.
“Everyone deserves a safe working environment and today we all recognise that frontline workers, like those who kept supermarkets open during lockdown, fully deserve our respect and protection,” EHRC chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said.
“We’re pleased to be working with Sainsbury’s and I hope that the improvements they have agreed to put in place will set the tone and standard for others to follow,” she said.
“We need to learn the lessons from both #MeToo and lockdown and ensure that we are valuing essential workers and ensuring that our workplaces are fit for the values of the 21st century.”
In 2018, a member of Sainsbury’s staff won an employment tribunal claim heard in Leicester, following an incident which took place in October 2016.
Sainsbury’s said that safety is its “highest priority” and it “does not tolerate harassment or abuse of any kind”.
“We took immediate steps in 2016 to develop our training and processes and are committed to working closely with the EHRC,” Sainsbury’s said.