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”.


Whistleblower’s treatment leads to tribunal case against Lloyds of London firm

A whistleblower alleges he has been subjected to a campaign questioning his motivations and mental health.

What needs to change before we can close the gender pay gap

13 Nov 2019

Headline-grabbing proposals can only take us so far. Cultural shifts and changes in shared leave, maternity and paternity benefits are needed before we can truly get to grips with the gender pay gap.

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Labour promises 12 months of maternity pay

8 Nov 2019

The Labour Party has pledged to increase statutory maternity pay from nine to 12 months as part of a raft...

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Can employers insist on their staff wearing or not wearing a poppy in the workplace?

Wearing a poppy in the workplace: myth or reality?

6 Nov 2019

Employers sometimes make the headlines over their policy on staff wearing a poppy in the workplace. We set out the...

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HR horrors: How to avoid a Halloween nightmare

30 Oct 2019

As Halloween approaches, it’s time for HR professionals to reflect on the often nightmarish legal situations they face. Clare Gilroy-Scott,...

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Government considering making employee references mandatory

29 Oct 2019

The government has said it will consult on the idea that employers should be required to provide, as a minimum,...

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Musicians call for better freelance protections from sexual harassment

23 Oct 2019

The Musicians’ Union is campaigning for stronger protections from sexual harassment and discrimination after almost half of members surveyed said...

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BMA apologises after report exposes ‘old boys’ club’ culture

18 Oct 2019

The British Medical Association has apologised to members after an independent review found that female doctors felt “undervalued, ignored or...

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#MeToo at two: how far have we come?

15 Oct 2019

The #MeToo movement is two years old this week and has been influential in altering behaviour, bolstering equality and respect...

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Lawyer found dead had been suspended for sexual misconduct

11 Oct 2019

A partner at a law firm who was found dead at the foot of cliffs in south Wales had been suspended for alleged inappropriate sexual conduct

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One in 12 Lloyd’s of London workers witnessed sexual harassment

24 Sep 2019

Almost one in 12 workers at Lloyd’s of London have witnessed sexual harassment in the past year, prompting the world’s...

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Former soldiers win race discrimination claim

16 Sep 2019

Two former British soldiers have won a race discrimination claim against the Ministry of Defence.

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KPMG

KPMG partners leave firm after WhatsApp probe

9 Sep 2019

A misconduct investigation at services giant KPMG into the use of WhatsApp messages by a senior manager has led to the departure of three top executives.

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Google releases strict guidelines on employee communications

28 Aug 2019

Google has released new workplace guidelines urging staff not to insult one another or make misleading comments about the company....

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McMillan Williams had ‘a culture of fear and bullying’ ex-employee claims

19 Aug 2019

A former partner at high street law firm McMillan Williams has claimed it created a “morally bankrupt environment” that allowed...

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