Sainsbury’s signs legally binding document with EHRC

6 August 2020 (Last Updated August 6th, 2020 14:00)

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's has signed a legally binding document with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to protect its staff from harassment.

Sainsbury’s signs legally binding document with EHRC
Sainsbury’s signs legally binding document to protect staff from harassment. Credit: David Howard.

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has signed a legally binding document with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to protect its staff from harassment.

The legal agreement is known as Section 23 agreement under the Equality Act 2006. It will remain effective for 18 months starting this summer.

Sainsbury’s signed the documents after being found liable for sexual harassment against a staff member.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “Safety is our highest priority and we do not tolerate harassment or abuse of any kind. We took immediate steps in 2016 to develop our training and processes and are committed to working closely with the EHRC.”

The retailer is now required to prepare a discrimination guide for line managers and employees and use internal communications to guide staff on how to deal with harassment.

Furthermore, it will set up more effective workforce training and send progress reports regularly to EHRC.

EHRC chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said: “Everyone deserves a safe working environment and today we all recognise that frontline workers, like those who kept supermarkets open during lockdown, fully deserve our respect and protection.

“We’re pleased to be working with Sainsbury’s and I hope that the improvements they have agreed to put in place will set the tone and standard for others to follow.

“We need to learn the lessons from both #MeToo and lockdown and ensure that we are valuing essential workers and ensuring that our workplaces are fit for the values of the 21st century.”

In April, Sainsbury’s made the decision to forego its full-year dividend as it expects around a £500m+ impact on profit for the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.