Allay (UK) Ltd v Gehlen EAT/0331/20

In response to the recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) findings which held that the employer’s diversity training was not sufficient to amount to a “reasonable steps” defence in a claim of racial harassment committed by one of its employees, Trivium have launched an online learning platform for our clients to make online training in subjects such as Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Sexual Harassment Awareness and Bullying and Harassment easily accessible for SME size firms.

Following this case, you, as an employer, may be deemed liable for discriminatory acts of harassment, committed by your employees against other employees, unless you can show that you took reasonably practicable steps to prevent the discriminatory act.

Effective Training is Required

The findings in this case highlighted that implementation of an anti-harassment policy was not sufficient, this needed to be supported with training for all staff. The effectiveness of the training should be monitored and refreshed, particularly if it appears staff are ignoring the training or are still not clear on what is or isn’t acceptable.

Our training includes examples of what constitutes harassment with reference to the Equality Act 2010.

Mr Gehlen raised a complaint that a colleague had made racist remarks and the tribunal upheld this. Allay put forward the defence in s.109(4) of the Equality Act 2010 of ‘having taken reasonable steps to prevent the employee from doing the unlawful acts’. The tribunal acknowledge that staff had received Equality and Diversity training but rejected the defence as the training had been received several years ago and was “clearly stale”.

The tribunal in this case was entitled to conclude that such training as had been provided to the perpetrator of race harassment, and a number of other employees, including two managers who failed to report matters to HR, had become stale and required refreshing.

Read the full case here. It is an interesting read Allay (UK) Ltd v Mr S Gehlen: UKEAT/0031/20/AT – GOV.UK