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Harassment

Prevention

30 April 2024

Last revised

minutes

8

Reading time

Yachts bring employees together in close proximity, for long periods, working under pressure, like no other. Employers have always owed crewmembers various duties of care, but recent British legal developments oblige owners to be proactive in preventing sexual harassment. Prevention is better than cure. While these changes only apply to a minority of yachts and crewmembers, it's a step in the right direction and provides a useful industry benchmark.

minutes

8

Reading time

30 April 2024

Last revised

Yachts bring employees together in close proximity, for long periods, working under pressure, like no other. Employers have always owed crewmembers various duties of care, but recent British legal developments oblige owners to be proactive in preventing sexual harassment. Prevention is better than cure. While these changes only apply to a minority of yachts and crewmembers, it's a step in the right direction and provides a useful industry benchmark.

  • Yachts create unique working conditions, bringing employees together closely for extended periods under high-pressure situations, making prevention of sexual harassment crucial.

  • The #MeToo movement exposed systemic issues regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, prompting legal reforms to address these failings.

  • Recent legal developments now oblige certain owners to proactively prevent this type of behaviour, emphasizing prevention over remedy.

  • The UK’s Equality Act 2010 defines sexual harassment and places the burden on employers to demonstrate that they took reasonable steps to prevent it.

  • UK employment law applies to crew based on their employment arrangements and connections to Great Britain, with distinctions between peripatetic and expatriate crew.

  • The Act applies to crew working in or adjacent to Great Britain, regardless of their role or the yacht's size, private or commercial.

  • As from October 2024, all employers must take "reasonable steps" to prevent sexual harassment, with significant penalties for non-compliance.

  • The law provides no clear guidance on what constitutes reasonable steps, leaving employers to adopt a risk-based approach.

  • The Equality & Human Rights Commission offers a seven-step guidance for employers, emphasizing policy development, engagement, risk assessment, reporting, training, complaint handling, and addressing third-party harassment.

  • Creating an inclusive and respectful working environment not only fulfils legal obligations but also enhances crew satisfaction, guest experiences, and mitigates retention issues.

  • The Act applies to crew working in or adjacent to Great Britain, regardless of their role or the yacht's size, private or commercial.

  • As from October 2024, all employers must take "reasonable steps" to prevent sexual harassment, with significant penalties for non-compliance.

  • The law provides no clear guidance on what constitutes reasonable steps, leaving employers to adopt a risk-based approach.

  • The Equality & Human Rights Commission offers a seven-step guidance for employers, emphasizing policy development, engagement, risk assessment, reporting, training, complaint handling, and addressing third-party harassment.

  • Creating an inclusive and respectful working environment not only fulfils legal obligations but also enhances crew satisfaction, guest experiences, and mitigates retention issues.