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”.


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

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

Police chiefs commit to developing sexual harassment action plan

16 Aug 2018

Police chiefs have vowed to address sexual harassment across the force after it emerged a high proportion of police officers...

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Schoolgirl awarded £16k in Pizza Hut sexual harassment case

13 Aug 2018

A 17-year-old schoolgirl receptionist at a Pizza Hut Delivery branch in east London has been awarded £15,800 after winning a...

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Presidents Club dinner agency vows to improve working environment

31 Jul 2018

The agency that supplied female staff for the men-only Presidents Club dinner earlier this year has entered into a legal...

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Employers must do more to protect against sexual harassment at work, says committee

25 Jul 2018

Attempts to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace have been inadequate and there has been a “failure to tackle unlawful...

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Sexual harassment: How HR can help develop a culture of respect

26 Jun 2018

Sexual harassment has been brought to the forefront of employers’ attention in recent months, following the rise of the #MeToo...

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Whistleblower allegedly tied to a chair after speaking out

25 May 2018

A whistleblower who complained of a misogynistic and racist culture at a Scottish government department has claimed that she was...

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Sexual harassment: Remember that men can be victims too

3 May 2018

Given the recent coverage of the #metoo campaign it’s easy to assume that the perpetrators of sexual harassment are always...

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Third of LGBT employees hide their sexual orientation at work

30 Apr 2018

Gay, bisexual and trans campaign group Stonewall last week called on employers to develop zero-tolerance policies on discrimination against employees...

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Save the Children investigated over handling of staff misconduct claims

11 Apr 2018

The charity Save the Children is being investigated by the Charity Commission over how it handled allegations of misconduct and...

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Employers should have legal duty to prevent sexual harassment

27 Mar 2018

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has recommended that the Government places a legal duty on employers to take...

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Barbara Judge

Senior Institute of Directors staff resign after discrimination allegations

12 Mar 2018

The head of one of the UK’s longest-established business groups has defended the investigation of racism, bullying and sexism allegations...

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Marilyn Loden on 40 years of the ‘glass ceiling’

8 Mar 2018

Management consultant Marilyn Loden coined the phrase “glass ceiling” some 40 years ago. On International Women’s Day, she talks about...

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Charity scandal: can employers inform others about misconduct?

23 Feb 2018

Amid the misconduct scandal surrounding the charity sector, Oxfam and other charities suggest that better systems to inform other prospective...

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Sexual harassment complaints by lawyers run at one a month

20 Feb 2018

Complaints made by lawyers about sexual harassment by their colleagues totalled around one a month last year, according to the...

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