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​EHRC and workplace harassment – action required

14 March 2018


The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) today emailed dentists in England following high profile cases of bullying and harassment in Hollywood and Westminster.


Under the existing legislation, including the Equality Act 2010, employers must have the relevant policies and procedures in place, communicate those policies to staff and provide training.


The EHRC has likened policies on workplace sexual harassment to being akin to the Health and Safety legislation – every practice should be following them and they should run along in the background on a day-to-day basis.


The EHRC states:


"As an employer your organisation is legally liable for sexual harassment suffered by your employees in the workplace, and you have a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to prevent it."


What are dentists being asked to do?

All recipients of the email will need to either book a call with the EHRC to have a discussion on how they might implement such procedures in their practice; or, if a practice feels it already has everything in place, it can email the EHRC to confirm it.


If they do not, the EHRC may contact them anyway its email implies.


Responding to allegations and dealing with sexual harassment requires specialist training and any possible employment tribunal would wish to see this had been undertaken.  We are looking into how this training might be provided.


What does it have to do with CQC?

The email details the member's CQC Provider ID, but that is purely because the CQC has a complete mailing of ALL England-based providers, not just NHS ones. 


While it is not a CQC matter, per se, they may well look at it under the "well-lead" question.


What should I do?

  1. Book in the call with EHRC or email them to confirm you're confident you have the procedures in place to manage the issue.
  2. Read our bullying, harassment and violence at work advice which takes members through their responsibilities.

If you are a BDA Expert member, you have access to our equality policy and bullying and harassment policy templates.


For further information on this and other issues, Extra and Expert members have access to one-to-one advice and can call the Practice Support Team on 020 7563 4574 or email


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