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”.


Putting a stop to the misuse of NDAs

After the government this month outlined plans to outlaw the unethical use of non-disclosures agreements, Michael Hibbs looks at situations...

Dismissal for asserting a statutory right – a trap for the unwary

5 Mar 2019

Most employers wanting to part company with an employee will be aware of the most common claims that the individual...

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Ted Baker

Ted Baker commits to cultural change after resignation of founder

4 Mar 2019

Fashion retailer Ted Baker has said it is determined to learn lessons and ensure that its staff feel respected and...

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Unethical use of NDAs to be outlawed

4 Mar 2019

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and confidentiality clauses that attempt to conceal harassment and discrimination could be made unlawful under proposals announced by government.

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Loopholes leave Westminster staff vulnerable to sexual harassment

26 Feb 2019

Workers in Westminster are left “woefully unprotected” if they are sexually harassed in Parliament, due to glaring loopholes in equality...

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NHS staff make hundreds of bullying and harassment complaints

25 Feb 2019

Hundreds of bullying and sexual harassment allegations have been made against NHS staff over the past five years, further highlighting...

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How to take precautions to avoid a toxic work environment

20 Feb 2019

Independent investigations into misconduct at both Amnesty International and Oxfam suggest that toxic workplace cultures can have serious consequences. What...

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Woodhill

Prison officer was unfairly dismissed after revealing sexuality

15 Feb 2019

A prison officer who was subject to verbal and physical abuse over his sexual orientation was unfairly dismissed, an employment...

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sexual harassment case

Sexual harassment and the City: change is in the air

15 Feb 2019

A claim of sexual harassment currently being heard at employment tribunal could end up leading to significant changes of behaviour and culture among City firms

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Penny Mordaunt promises consultation on NDAs

11 Feb 2019

Sir Philip Green allegations prompt minister for women and equalities to look into limiting non-disclosure agreements

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Oxfam’s ‘toxic work environment’ allowed sexual misconduct allegations to go unchecked

17 Jan 2019

The charity Oxfam failed to tackle an environment that allowed sexual misconduct and bullying to go unchecked, according to an interim independent review.

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Alex Salmond sexual harassment investigation ruled unlawful

8 Jan 2019

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has won his legal challenge against the way the Scottish government handled an investigation...

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Are UK employers lagging behind Europe in response to #MeToo?

20 Dec 2018

Only two-thirds of UK employers have taken action to prevent sexual harassment – a proportion that is significantly below the...

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Sexual harassment to be tackled under new 12-point plan

18 Dec 2018

The government is considering whether to introduce a new legal duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment at work as...

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Debt and divorce among employees’ top mental health worries

17 Dec 2018

Money worries, relationship break up and bullying are the personal issues of most concern to employers when it comes to...

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