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”.


Men are more likely than women to think it acceptable to kiss a colleague at a Christmas party

Zero hours workers subject to more sexual harassment

Two fifths of women and a fifth of men in the UK say they have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour at...

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Jewish teacher sacked for ‘living in sin’ wins discrimination claim

5 Dec 2017

A school teacher has won a religious and sex discrimination claim against an Orthodox Jewish nursery which dismissed her for...

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Cyber bullying

What employers can do to stop cyber bullying at work

15 Nov 2017

Anti-Bullying Week is a timely reminder for employers to look at the growing risk of cyber bullying at work. David...

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Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom responds to a question about allegations of unwanted sexual behaviourPA/PA Wire/PA Images

Sexual harassment: the rise of historical allegations

31 Oct 2017

With the reports of historical sexual harassment in Hollywood and now Parliament, employees may feel increasingly able to come forward...

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Gwyneth Paltrow is one of more than 30 women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of unwelcome advancesYui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

Sexual harassment: how to make staff take complaints seriously

12 Oct 2017

The Harvey Weinstein scandal has once again placed the spotlight on sexual harassment reporting. Victims of sexual harassment are often...

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sexist

Female HR directors more likely to view workplace as sexist, reports charity

4 Sep 2017

Almost half of female HR directors and decision-makers think their workplaces are sexist, compared with just a quarter of men...

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Sexual harassment in the workplace

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

30 Jun 2017

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

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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...

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