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What would be harassment at work?

Harassment is not limited to the protected characteristics. There are three types of harassment:

Firstly, harassment is where a person (A) engages in unwanted conduct towards another person (B) in relation to a relevant protected characteristic. The conduct must have the purpose or effect of violating B’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.

Secondly, B is also harassed if A engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature and the conduct has the purpose or effect of violating B’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.

Thirdly, harassment is also where A or another person engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or that is related to gender reassignment or sex, the conduct has the purpose or effect of violating B’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B, and because of B’s rejection of or submission to the conduct, A treats B less favourably than A would treat B if B had not rejected or submitted to the conduct.

When deciding whether conduct has the effect of violating B’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B, the perception of B must be taken into account along with the other circumstances of the case and whether it is reasonable for the conduct to have that effect.

Victimisation at work

Victimisation refers to a ‘protected act’. A protected act is either bringing proceedings under the Equality Act 2010, giving evidence or information in connection with proceedings under the Equality Act 2010, doing any other thing for the purposes of or in connection with the Equality Act 2010 or making an allegation (whether or not express) that A or another person has contravened the Equality Act 2010.

A person (A) victimises another person (B) if A subjects B to a detriment because B does a protected act, or A believes that B has done, or may do, a protected act.

Victimisation only applies where the person subjected to a detriment is an individual.

If you have been harassed or victimised at work, you may be able to pursue a claim for compensation. Learn more at our Employment Law section.

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