A Cumbrian law firm has welcomed moves to create a legal code of practice on sexual harassment in the workplace.

Government ministers are to work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to combat what they describe as some employers' "failure" to take the issue seriously.

They will produce a code that makes it clear "what actions an employer must take to fulfil their legal responsibilities".

They will also look at tightening regulations around non-disclosure agreements and consult on how to ensure explanations to workers are clear.

Joanne Holborn, head of employment at legal firm Baines Wilson said the move reflected the mood of business people it had surveyed.

She said: "Our survey, conducted amongst nearly 100 HR professionals representing some of the largest companies in the North West, showed that 90 per cent thought a policy on sexual harassment should be compulsory.

“This demonstrates a clear determination by businesses in the north to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace.

“However, where some businesses fall down is in the implementation of these policies. Our experience shows that companies that implement their policies effectively see a significant shift in their workplace culture, going a long way to stamping out bullying and harassment in all its forms."

Earlier this year a report by the Commons Women and Equalities Committee found that sexual comments, unwanted touching, groping and assault are still "widespread and commonplace" in British industry.