Bullying & Harassment in the workplace

Bullying at work can have a serious impact on an employee’s life and as such the business in which it takes place. In many cases it can be sorted out amicably. In some cases, however, it may be necessary to take legal action.

The key question is, what is defined bullying and harassment at work?

Bullying and harassment is defined in law as any unwanted behaviour that makes a person feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended. It doesn’t necessarily have to be obvious or apparent to other. As such, it can happen in the workplace without your employer being aware.

Bullying & Harassment at Work Solicitors

Bullying or harassment can be between individuals or it between groups. It might be obvious to others, or it might be hidden and underhanded. Similar to the offence of discrimination, it is related to age, sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, religion, belief or sexual orientation and may be persistent or an isolated incident. It can also occur in written communications, by phone, or email – it doesn’t have to be in face-to-face interactions.

Employees may not always feel able or confident enough to make a complaint. This is often true if the bully is senior to the victim. Sometimes the victim simply leaves the job. Therefore, it is very important that businesses ensure that their staff are aware of options available to them to deal with incidents of bullying or harassment. It’s also vital that these are kept confidential.

Employees can also be harassed by third parties, such as customers or clients. Where ever, possible an employer should ensure that their employees feel as though they are protected from such harassment and take steps to deal with any situations which arise.

Employers have a duty to ensure that all their employees understand that bullying is not acceptable in the workplace and that such behaviour will result in disciplinary action being taken. Failing to deal with bullying in the correct manner will leave an employer open to a claim at the Employment Tribunal or in court.

Aly & Hulme Associates provide specialist employment law advice in the area of bullying and discrimination at work. We can also guide employers on how to avoid any difficulties in relation to bullying and harassment. We also advise employees who feel they have been bullied or harassed.

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