Employment news

IKEA makes legal commitment on sexual harassment

Furniture retailer IKEA UK has committed to reviewing the way it deals with sexual harassment and meeting its responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.

IKEA has entered into a legal agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which will see the furniture giant ramp up the way it treats sexual harassment. Under the terms of the deal, IKEA will communicate a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment to its staff; conduct an external review of its policies and processes to improve its responses to complaints; and train its management on the revised approach.

IKEA’s agreement with the EHRC comes after the commission became aware that allegations of sexual assault and harassment at an IKEA store may have been mishandled. This prompted the EHRC to contact IKEA UK and broker what is known as a Section 23 Agreement, which will be monitored through until August 2025.

Section 23 in the 2006 Equalities Act gives the EHRC the authority to require action to address issues that may have led to unlawful conduct in relation to equalities. The EHRC currently has seventeen such agreements in place with employers across the UK, including McDonald’s, Sainsbury’s, and Highways England.