international employment law firm alliance L&E Global
United Kingdom

UK: Workplace culture: Sexual harassment

The EHRC intervened in February 2022 after a former IKEA employee raised a complaint about how their sexual harassment and assault allegations were dealt with by IKEA UK.

Under the terms of the agreement, reported by the EHRC in March 2023, IKEA UK has committed to reviewing the way it deals with sexual harassment and meeting its responsibilities under the Equality Act. IKEA has also agreed to:

  • Communicate a zero-tolerance approach on sexual harassment to all staff
  • Work with a specialist external law partner to support the organisation in reviewing its policies and processes relating to sexual harassment, and to improve its responses to complaints
  • Provide training on the enhanced policies and processes, and harassment and sexual harassment to HR staff and line managers

The EHRC will monitor IKEA’s compliance with the agreement to ensure the actions are completed within the agreed timescales. It can use its legal powers to enforce the action plan.

The agreement is likely to last until August 2025.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel

In February 2023, McDonald’s UK signed a similar agreement with the EHRC in response to concerns about the handling of multiple sexual harassment complaints by staff at its UK restaurants.

Having a positive workplace culture will help drive a zero-tolerance approach to harassment, bullying and other unwanted workplace behaviours. Being able to demonstrate that any complaints will be treated incredibly seriously and investigated fully also helps to drive that culture. See our flyer for information on how Clyde & Co can offer support with dealing with harassment in the workplace.

IKEA UK signs legal agreement with EHRC

McDonald’s signs legal agreement with EHRC