Have you thought about what could happen if a patient harasses your employee?
As an employer, you can be liable if your employees are harassed by a third party, such as patients or maintenance contractors, unless as the employer you have done everything to prevent the third party from doing so.This only applies if the employer knows that the employee has been harassed on at least two previous occasions. While it has to be the same employee who has been harassed on these occasions, the third party may be the same or a different person on each occasion.
The potential situation...
You have a patient who comes into the surgery and makes a lewd comment at your receptionist, the receptionist informs you that the remark was made and she found it to be humiliating. Two weeks later another patient makes another remark which she also reports to you. If you fail to react, the receptionist could make a claim to the Employment Tribunal and should she win her case, the compensation is unlimited.
All employees have protection on the grounds of:
In March of this year, the Government announced that it would consult on abolishing this legislation. As an employer you are overburdened with bureaucracy and it appears unjust that as an employer you can be liable for the actions of a third party and therefore this consultation is welcomed.
However, until this consultation takes place it is important that you have a policy in place stating that harassment will not be tolerated and explaining what your employees should do if they feel as though they have been harassed. This policy should be reviewed and monitored regularly.
It is essential that all staff, third party contractors and patients are aware of the Policy.
Here at Cohen Cramer, we can draft, review and monitor and assist you with this area of law which is potentially high risk to your dental practice.
Please contact Sarah Leyland at Sarah.Leyland@cohencramer.co.uk