Employers are vicariously liable for anything done by their employees in the course of their employment. This includes acts of unlawful discrimination and acts of harassment on the grounds of a “protected characteristic” such as age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, race and religion and belief.
Employers have a defence to vicarious liability claims under S109 of the Equality Act providing they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent the discrimination before the unlawful act happened.
Many employers now have Equality and Diversity policies. Some ask employees to watch a video on Equality and Diversity and sign a form afterwards. This may not be enough. The case law is relatively clear that tucking policies away in a drawer and simply giving perfunctory training as a tick box exercise is not enough to establish a defence. (And if you don’t even have a policy or do any sort of training call us without delay!).