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”.

Christian actress loses legal case after anti-LGBT comments

An actress who was stripped of a role following the discovery of anti-gay comments on Facebook has lost a tribunal...

Imperial College top executives under scrutiny for bullying

15 Feb 2021

Two university leaders are under formal investigation by the Office for Students after accusations of bullying staff.
Alice Gast, president...

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LGBT+ workers experience higher levels of conflict at work

11 Feb 2021

More than four in 10 LGB+ workers have experienced a work-based conflict in the last year, rising to 55% for trans workers.

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Business minister: HR has vital role in tackling domestic abuse

5 Feb 2021

Paul Scully says HR, managers and colleagues must do more to help domestic abuse survivors, but it will be a learning curve.

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Victim of NHS manager’s practical joke wins £10k pay out

4 Feb 2021

An employment tribunal finds trust was breached after a manager played a practical joke on an employee who had just returned from sick leave.

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Employment law in limbo: Key proposals to resurrect in 2021

4 Feb 2021

Many proposed employment law changes that the government has put forward in the last few years have stalled, mainly as...

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

23 Jan 2021

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Pay issues, harassment and safety risks blight cleaning sector

19 Jan 2021

Issues with pay, dangerous working conditions and sexual harassment are ‘endemic’ in the cleaning sector, and organisations – especially client...

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‘Do more to support domestic abuse victims’, minister tells employers

14 Jan 2021

Business minister Paul Scully says few firms are aware of the signs of domestic abuse, and even fewer have a clear policy to support those affected by it.

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Royal Mail manager wins £230k after bullying complaints not addressed

8 Jan 2021

A former manager at Royal Mail has won a £230,000 pay-out after his complaints about bullying and discrimination were not...

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Lloyd’s underwriter loses constructive unfair dismissal case

3 Dec 2020

An employee of a Lloyd’s of London underwriter who was bullied at work has won his case for constructive unfair...

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Female security guard wins payout after being called ‘Mr’

30 Nov 2020

A female security guard has won a £2,000 payout for sexual harassment after being repeatedly addressed as Mr – including in court papers.

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How should HR handle a case of domestic abuse?

27 Nov 2020

With soaring rates of calls to domestic abuse helplines throughout the Covid pandemic and coverage of the Johnny Depp vs...

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Priti Patel inquiry ‘finds evidence of bullying’

20 Nov 2020

The Prime Minister has said he has ‘full confidence’ in his home secretary Priti Patel, despite an inquiry finding she...

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CIPD ACE: Focus on listening skills to encourage ‘speak up’ culture

12 Nov 2020

To create a true ‘speak up’ culture, organisations need to stop trying to fix individuals’ behaviours and focus on how...

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