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”.


Civil servants make hundreds of complaints about harassment

Hundreds of civil servants have complained about sexual harassment or bullying but only a small number have faced disciplinary action...

Google responds to walkout by ending ‘forced arbitration’

9 Nov 2018

Google has announced it is to end its controversial “forced arbitration” policy under which employees in the US must agree...

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Woman who was spied on by employer wins race discrimination case

5 Nov 2018

A woman who was spied on by her employer and denied the opportunity to progress in her career because she...

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Google workers stage global walkout

1 Nov 2018

Staff and freelancers at Google offices across the world are walking out in protest of the tech giant’s treatment of...

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Ryanair racism row: Are employers liable if they fail to prevent harassment?

31 Oct 2018

A recent incident on a Ryanair flight where a man was filmed having a racist rant at another passenger attracted...

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Google dismisses 48 staff over sexual harassment

26 Oct 2018

Google has dismissed 48 people – including 13 senior managers – over claims of sexual harassment in the past two...

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Sir Philip Green named as businessman in sexual and racial harassment scandal

25 Oct 2018

Billionaire named as the man at the centre of the "British #MeToo" scandal...

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Government to examine use of NDAs in employment disputes

25 Oct 2018

Theresa May has said the government will bring forward a planned consultation on the use of non-disclosure agreements in employment...

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“Fat ginger pikey” and Yoda comments were not harassment, finds EAT

24 Oct 2018

A salesman who was called a “fat ginger pikey” by work colleagues has lost his claim for disability discrimination and...

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How technology can help employees speak up over misconduct

16 Oct 2018

Allegations of misconduct that enter the public eye can ruin corporate reputations and mark an end to executive careers. HR...

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Women subjected to ‘predatory’ behaviour by MPs

15 Oct 2018

Women working at the House of Commons were subjected to “predatory” contact and treated like “personal servants” by MPs, an...

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Stress is main workplace health concern, say seven in 10 union reps

5 Oct 2018

Almost seven in 10 (69%) health and safety union representatives say stress is one of the main issues they have...

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A third of people would challenge sexual harassment

2 Oct 2018

More than a third (35%) of people would speak up about sexual harassment, following a shift in the kind of...

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Four in 10 women sexually harassed at work

27 Sep 2018

Almost four in 10 (37%) women have been sexually harassed at work in the last 12 months, yet  organisations are...

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UK employees more lenient around ethics but more likely to report misconduct

13 Sep 2018

UK employees take a more lenient approach than the European average to questionable workplace behaviour...

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