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”.


Managers sweep harassment under the carpet, says CIPD report

Almost a quarter of employees believe that – despite the rise of movements such as #MeToo – bullying and harassment...

Workers speaking up over sexual misconduct at law firms

20 Jan 2020

Sexual misconduct complaints and cases rise sharply as #MeToo wields influence.

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Sexual harassment victims urged to help shape policy

17 Jan 2020

Minister for women Victoria Atkins (pictured) launches bid to gauge scale and nature of workplace sexual harassment.

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‘Toxic, bullying culture’ and lack of diversity in fire services

16 Jan 2020

Some of England’s fire and rescue services have a 'toxic, bullying culture' and a lack of diversity, inspectors have found.

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EHRC issues new guidance on dealing with sexual harassment

15 Jan 2020

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued new guidance on dealing with sexual harassment at work.
In a letter...

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Highways England driver harassed before job began wins £74k

14 Jan 2020

An ex-Highways England driver has been awarded almost £74,000 in compensation by an employment tribunal after she was harassed by...

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‘Anti-IQ’ slurs: Why HR should be mindful of intelligence-related bullying

13 Jan 2020

Terms like “nerd” and “geek” may not seem as harmful as racial or homophobic slurs, but a senior academic last...

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Physio pursues unfair dismissal claim while fighting deportation

9 Dec 2019

An NHS physiotherapist is fighting a Home Office attempt to remove her from the UK after being dismissed from her job.

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Lloyd's of london champagne

Lloyd’s of London staff urged to behave during Christmas party season

6 Dec 2019

Lloyd’s of London has urged its own staff and those of its members to behave correctly at this year’s Christmas...

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Top 10 HR questions November 2019: IR35, Christmas parties and PILON

3 Dec 2019

Pending a review announced by chancellor Sajid Javid, reforms to the IR35 rules are due to be extended to the...

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PwC cracks down on office drinking

2 Dec 2019

Consulting firm PwC has introduced new rules around when and where employees can drink alcohol in the office.
Under the...

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Supreme Court

Supreme Court hears final Barclays appeal in sexual harassment case

28 Nov 2019

Supreme Court hears final appeal in significant vicarious liability case with a verdict expected in February.

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Why employers need to understand associative discrimination

27 Nov 2019

There is ambiguity over whether claims of associative discrimination can succeed under the Equality Act 2010 but EU law offers some encouragement to...

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Embassy secretary awarded £400,000 for ‘spiteful’ sex discrimination

22 Nov 2019

Employment tribunal awards £400,000 to former Qatari Embassy secretary who was subjected to a campaign of sexual harassment and discrimination.

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Hotel worker

Hotel sector failing to protect ‘vulnerable workforce’ from modern slavery

22 Nov 2019

Only 18 of 71 global hotel firms operating in the UK have met the minimum requirements of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015.

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