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”.


Barclays not liable for sexual assaults committed by contractor

Barclays Bank is not liable for the numerous alleged sexual assaults committed by a self-employed doctor who had been contracted...

Is it time for specific anti-bullying legislation?

12 Mar 2020

There are a few avenues available to employees wishing to seek legal redress after being bullied in the workplace, but...

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Save the Children’s handling of harassment complaints ‘let down’ staff

5 Mar 2020

The way Save the Children UK handled harassment allegations made against senior employees had a “corrosive impact” on its internal...

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Four ways HR can handle ‘brilliant jerks’

2 Mar 2020

Putting up with toxic employees risks damage in the form of churn and lost productivity, no matter how 'brilliant' they are.

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Aid agencies urged to join staff misconduct data sharing scheme

25 Feb 2020

More UK aid agencies are being encouraged to join a data-sharing scheme which helps stop perpetrators of sexual abuse from...

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Atmosphere in Whitehall is ‘poisonous’, unions claim

25 Feb 2020

Boris Johnson’s government has been accused of drawing up plans to oust senior civil servants, which unions have described as...

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Diversity & Inclusion: Sign up to our free e-newsletter now

12 Feb 2020

Personnel Today is launching a new email newsletter for 2020, focusing on all aspects of diversity and inclusion.
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Independent panel will tackle Parliament bullying and harassment claims

11 Feb 2020

An independent panel for examining claims of bullying and sexual harassment by members of Parliament is to be created, alongside...

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Acas issues guidance on use of non-disclosure agreements

10 Feb 2020

Non-disclosure agreements must not be used to stop someone from reporting discrimination or sexual harassment or from blowing the whistle...

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Managers sweep harassment under the carpet, says CIPD report

21 Jan 2020

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

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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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