ISM Writes in Support of Worker Protection (Amendment of the Equality Act 2010) Bill
ISM Chief Executive Deborah Annetts has written to the Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch MP in support of harassment legislation currently making its way through parliament.
The Worker Protection (Amendment of the Equality Act 2010) Bill ('the Bill'), was introduced by Wera Hobhouse MP and seeks to allow a person to make a complaint to the Employment Tribunal against their employer if that employer has failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent a third party from harassing the worker.
If implemented, the Bill would deliver on two government commitments for tackling sexual harassment in the workplace, which were first published in July 2021 in response to a Government Equalities Office consultation on the same topic, and as part of the national strategy for Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls. In particular, the Bill will:
- Introduce a new legal duty requiring employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent their employees from experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace
- Introduce explicit employer liability for all workplace harassment of employees by third parties, for example customers or clients, where employers have failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent the harassment
The ISM’s 2022 report, Dignity at work 2: Discrimination in the music sector, studied the survey responses of 660 individuals who work in the music sector. Of these, 66% reported to have experienced at least one form of discrimination while at work, 27% of which was identified as third-party harassment by an audience member, customer or client. This data demonstrates the need for the Bill to progress.
It was introduced in Parliament on 15 June, passed its second reading on 21 October 2022 and is currently in committee stage in the House of Lords. While the Bill has received support from government ministers so far, the ISM wrote to Kemi Badenoch following press reports that government support for the Bill is under threat.
The Fawcett Society has provided a quick and easy template to write to your MP. Please take a moment to let the government know that this is an important issue for all musicians.
In the letter, Independent Society of Musicians Chief Executive Deborah Annetts said, 'Many musicians’ workplaces include public places such as concert halls, clubs, wedding venues and theatres. Performances often take place at night and in licensed premises where alcohol is served. Harassment – particularly of a sexual nature – is rife in these environments. As it stands, employers, service providers and fixers can distance themselves from liability in circumstances where preventative measures would have protected the workers. It is our belief that the Bill would be of benefit not only to the ISM’s membership, but to the entire music workforce.'