Bullying and harassment

In a workplace context, “harassment” is unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 (other than marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity) that has the purpose of violating a person's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. Harassment in the workplace can also occur where a person reasonably considers conduct to have that effect, even if the effect is unintended.

“Bullying” is not defined in UK employment law. Acas defines workplace bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the person being bullied”. The Health and Safety Executive stresses that bullying is a pattern of behaviour rather than isolated instances, and states that it “involves negative behaviour being targeted at an individual, or individuals, repeatedly and persistently over time”.


Sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace: Uber media outcry alerts employers to cut the risk

Sexual harassment in the workplace is in the spotlight after widespread publicity of claims by a former employee at technology...

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announces the party's election manifesto. Could his huge programme of employment law reform be achieved while simultaneously negotiating Brexit?  Photo: Peter MacDiarmid/REX/Shutterstock

General election 2017: which party will shake up employment law the most?

30 May 2017

With the general election approaching, consultant editor at XpertHR Darren Newman examines the Labour and Conservative manifestos to see where...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Harry Whitehead/REX/Shutterstock

Tory manifesto: National retraining, NI holidays and more gap reporting

18 May 2017

Theresa May launched the Conservative Party’s 2017 election manifesto today, and for HR and employers there are no big surprises....

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Carry On's Sid James and Hattie Jacques in the 1970sITV/REX/Shutterstock

Sexism among local councillors at “1970s” levels

26 Apr 2017

Female councillors face a culture of sexism “which would not be out of place in the 1970s”, according to Dame...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Relationship break-ups are a nightmare at the best of times, but can be even more difficult if the couple works together. Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.

Valentine’s Day: 10 potential problems with workplace romances

10 Feb 2017

Can employers have rules on personal relationships at work? Is it harassment for a worker to ask a colleague out...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
The BBFC rates the 1978 classic Halloween as an 18 for its atmosphere of "strong threat" and graphic depictions of killingsMoviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.

Tribunal Watch: Teacher’s dismissal for showing 18-rated film to pupils

9 Jan 2017

Tribunal Watch returns with a round-up of recent case law reported in the news. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Stock photo posed by models: imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Sexual harassment award: £14,000 for injury to feelings not excessive

27 Oct 2016

Zoe Lomax examines an EAT decision on the level of compensation for injury to feelings dictated by the three Vento bands.

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock.

Racial harassment in the workplace: five key cases

23 Sep 2016

Ex-England and Spurs footballer Paul Gascoigne has pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated abuse over a “joke” he made to a black...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Dinendra Haria/REX/Shutterstock

Sports Direct scraps zero hours contracts and “six strikes” policy

6 Sep 2016

Sports Direct is to offer its casual retail workers the opportunity to switch from a zero hours arrangement to a...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Theresa May arrives in China for the G20 where she rejected the idea of points-based immigration rules for EU workers. Photo: Xinhua News Agency/REX/Shutterstock

Brexit: practical five-point checklist for employers

5 Sep 2016

As Theresa May rejects the idea of a points-based immigration scheme for EU workers, employers continue to face uncertainty as...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace: beyond a joke?

5 Sep 2016

A recent survey by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) shows that sexual harassment in the workplace is widespread despite legislation...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Isopix/REX/Shutterstock.

Sexual harassment at work: 10 myths busted

15 Aug 2016

A TUC report on sexual harassment in the workplace has found that 52% of women have experienced some form of...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Workers are worried about job security post-Brexit. Photo: DrimaFilm/Shutterstock

Brexit: Public-sector employees more concerned about the future

1 Aug 2016

Latest research by the CIPD has revealed that almost half of employees are fearful of the future after the UK...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley and wife Linda arrive to give evidence last month. Photo: Ben Cawthra/REX/Shutterstock

Sports Direct’s business model treats workers like commodities and “without dignity”

22 Jul 2016

Sports Direct is founded on a business model that enables the majority of workers to be treated “without dignity or...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }
Elaine voted leave because she felt the EU was too bureaucratic, but now her colleagues say she's racist

Brexit: four bullying and harassment scenarios

12 Jul 2016

The result of the EU referendum has revealed divisions between different age groups and education levels, with feelings running high...

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }