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”.


Sexual harassment: Remember that men can be victims too

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

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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Employers should disclose sexual harassment claims, says academic

19 Feb 2018

Organisations should be required to publish how much they have paid to settle sexual harassment cases, according to an academic...

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Oxfam sex scandal spreads to UK charity shops

13 Feb 2018

The sex scandal engulfing Oxfam’s operations overseas has now extended to its charity shops in the UK, after its former...

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MPs conduct inquiry into workplace sexual harassment

13 Feb 2018

MPs have launched an inquiry into workplace sexual harassment to discover how employers and the Government could better protect staff....

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Presidents Club scandal: Is there any value in non-disclosure agreements?

9 Feb 2018

Reports of sexual harassment at the recent Presidents Club charity dinner form part of a worrying trend of unwanted behaviour...

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Harassment and inequality: should some of the red-tape “burdens” be reinstated?

26 Jan 2018

XpertHR consultant editor Darren Newman looks at amendments to “cut red tape” made to the Equality Act by the previous...

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More protection needed against sexual harassment by third parties

23 Jan 2018

The law should be strengthened to protect women from sexual harassment by third parties, as well as colleagues, a gender...

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Do social networks increase exposure to sexual harassment claims?

17 Jan 2018

There is a school of thought that new forms of digital technology have driven a new wave of sexual harassment...

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