Harassment in the Workplace

Harassment in the Workplace


At Elaine Parkes we understand that employment law issues can be very sensitive and a stressful process for victims, we always aim to establish a resolution through non-adversarial means, such as mediation. Our experienced Employment Law Solicitors have put together a guide on harassment in the workplace and what you should do if you are a victim of harassment.

Your employer is required by law to protect you from any form of discrimination that you could face during working hours. Discrimination can have a detrimental effect on the work place environment and should never be overlooked.

The Equality Act 2010, protects employees from being harassed by their employer, colleagues and customers of the organisation.

The nine protected characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race, colour, ethnic or national origin
  • Religion and belief

Your employer should have a policy that explains that they have zero tolerance as an organisation for harassment and bullying. It should also clarify what you need to do in the event of needing to make a harassment complaint.

Common workplace harassment examples include:

  • Spreading rumours.
  • Insults, pranks, jokes, and teasing.
  • Flags and emblems that are offensive.
  • Unwelcome sexual advances.
  • Undermining a competent employee with criticism on a continuous basis.
  • Offensive emails, tweets, and social networking interactions.

If you are being bullied or harassed, you should aim to try to resolve the problem informally in the first instance, having a discussion with the harasser (with someone else present) could be all that’s needed. Keep a copy of all the correspondence and dates you send and receive from the harasser.

If you find the harassment doesn’t stop or your employer doesn’t take your complaint seriously, you should make a formal complaint or raise a grievance. Your employer may offer workplace mediation. If your problem isn’t resolved after this, you can make a harassment claim in the employment tribunal under the Equality Act. You need to make sure:

  • the behaviour counts as unlawful harassment under the Act, and
  • you’re within the 3 months’ less one day time limit for making your claim.

The Employment Tribunal can make a declaration as to your rights, award damages for unlawful discrimination, or make a recommendation.

An Employment Law Solicitor can explain the legal rights you have and where necessary what action to take.

If you feel you have been bullied or harassed at work, contact our Employment Law Solicitors to determine whether you can take legal action to assist in resolving the issues you have faced.

If you need help with employment law, contact Elaine Parkes on 01424 883183