Staff can sue practices for sexual harassment by patients

GPs have been warned they could face legal action if they ignore staff complaints about sexual harassment by patients, following a landmark High Court ruling.

The government has been ordered by the High Court to alter existing equality laws to ensure all employees are properly protected against sexual harassment from the public as well as colleagues.

The ruling, made after a legal challenge brought by the Equal Opportunities Commission, would leave all employers, including GPs, liable to legal action if they ignore reports from staff of continuing sexual harassment from the public.

Martin Edwards, head of employment law at north west of England solicitors Mace and Jones, said: ‘This is something that affects any workplace where staff deal with the public, including those that deal with patients such as GP surgeries and hospitals.’

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