Harassment at Work for Employers

Bullying and harassment can be extremely damaging in the workplace; It is important Employers do all they can to prevent such behaviours.

What is bullying?

Bullying is a type of unwanted behaviour which negatively impacts the victim leaving them feeling uncomfortable and often humiliated, offended or intimidated.

Bullying can take many forms, it can occur as a pattern of behaviour or as an isolated incident. It also can come from a variety of people, including people in positions of leadership. Similarly, bullying can occur in person, in writing or online communication.

Online bullying is often referred to as ‘cyber-bullying,’ it is becoming increasingly prominent due to the development of modern technology and it can be particularly damaging as it has no time restraints and people have access to their phones, messages and the internet constantly.

What is harassment?

Harassment is a type of bullying which relates to a protected characteristic.

The Equality Act 2010 (s26) outlines three types of unwanted conduct which can constitute harassment:

  1. Where the conduct relates to a relevant protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation)
  2. where the conductis of a sexual nature
  3. Where the conduct is of a sexual nature or relates to gender reassignment or sex and results in less favourable treatment due to rejection or submission to the conduct

The harassment must also violate the targeted individual’s dignity or be responsible for creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them, in their opinion.

Like bullying, harassment can also take many different forms and occur as a pattern of behaviour or as one off incident.

The law

Examples of bullying and harassment

Events that constitute bullying and harassment could include:

Employer’s responsibilities

Employers have a duty of care towards their employees’ and liability for harassment claims can lead to costly compensation awards and reputational damage, as well as being very damaging for the workplace and individuals. It is therefore vital that employers do all they reasonably can to prevent bullying and harassment in the workplace. In particular:

A member of our employment team will be able to help you draft new policies and documents, as well as review existing documents. We can also assist with responding to allegations of harassment and tribunal claims.

You can contact us on:  [email protected] or 01635 508080.

Our Employment Law Team

Unsure who to contact? Make a general enquiry:

Newbury Thatcham Maidenhead London Windsor Swindon
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