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First and foremost, it is important to realise that, today on SKY news , it is reported that the British government is concerned about Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), so, MPs are talking about it.
MPs in the British parliarment have indicated that they strongly criticise NDAs as a cover up for unlawful activities in work places as a culture of cover ups grows. They indicate that Employment tribunals need to be overhauled so that employers can take the issues seriously and avoid using millions of pounds to stop disclosure of bullying and harassment in employment. It is important for businesses to realise that they should not be using them to silence people but instead to stamp out unlawful activities. Employer should focus on addressing the issues. NDAs bind the lives of receivers of silence money ‘dirty money’ as its not clear what they can or cannot do.
IT is important for NDA receivers to understand that they are still protected by whistleblowing over bullying , harassment, discrimination or managers who may have been perpetrators of the unlawful activities in the work place that led to the settlement agreements or NDAs
HARASSMENT IS where someone creates an atmosphere that makes you feel uncomfortable – this could be because you feel offended, intimidated or humiliated.
If you’re being bullied, your situation might also be harassment under the Equality Act 2010. If it is, you can take action under that law.
If the bullying isn’t harassment under the Equality Act you might be able to deal with the problem another way.
It might be harassment if someone has:
verbally abused you, asked very personal questions, for example about your disability or religion, put up posters that make you feel uncomfortable, made rude physical gestures or, facial expressions towards you, told you jokes of a sexual nature, made comments you find offensive, for example on social media.
If your colleagues say the behaviour was just friendly banter, it might still be harassment if it meets the definition of harassment in the Equality Act.
If the harassment is very serious, it might also be a crime. For example, it’s a crime if someone has sexually assaulted you or made physical threats. CONTACT THE POLICE if you’re worried about your safety.
Check what’s harassment under discrimination lawFor all types of harassment, the behaviour you’re complaining about has to be something you didn’t want. The law calls this ‘unwanted conduct’.
You also always need to show that the person who harassed you meant to make you feel a certain way, or that you felt that way even though it wasn’t their intention. This is called ‘purpose or effect’. If the person didn’t mean to make you feel this way, it also has to be ‘reasonable’ that you felt that way.
You need to show that the purpose or effect of the conduct was that it violated your dignity or created an environment that: humiliates you,offends you,intimidates you, is hostile, is degrading
3 TYPES OF HARASSMENT IN DISCRIMINATION LAW.
You also have to show that your situation is covered by one of the 3 types of harassment in discrimination law.
The first type is where the unwanted conduct is related to a relevant ‘protected characteristic’ like sex or race.
The second type is where the unwanted conduct is of a sexual nature.
The third type is where you’re treated worse because of rejecting or submitting to unwanted sexual behaviour or behaviour related to gender reassignment or sex. This is called ‘being treated less favourably’.
It doesn’t matter if the behaviour is directed at you or not – for example, if you overhear your colleagues making racist jokes or comments to each other.
Harassment is covered by Section 26 of the Equality Act 2010.
Check if it’s related to a ‘protected characteristic’
THE EQUALITY ACT PROTECTS YOU AGAINST HARASSMENT RELATED TO ‘protected characteristics’ like religion or being disabled.
If your harassment is related to pregnancy or maternity, you should take action under harassment relating to your sex.
The protected characteristics covered in sections 5 to 12 of the Equality Act are:
AgeThe law covers you for discrimination about being: young or old, in a particular age group – like 15-18 or under 60of a specific age – like 40 year oldsAge is defined in section 5 of the Equality Act 2010.
DISABILITYYou’re covered for a disability you have now and any you’ve now recovered from. A disability could be physical or mental – you could be covered even if you don’t consider yourself disabled.
You should check if your disability is covered by the Equality Act.
Disability is defined in section 6 of the Equality Act 2010.
RACEThis includes your:colour – for example if you’re black or whitenationality, ethnic origin – for example if you’re a Romany Gypsy, national origin – this could be different from your nationality, for example if your family is from India but you have a British passportIf you’re not sure what race means you can read a more detailed description in the EHRC Code of Practice on Employment, chapter 2.
Race is defined in section 9 of the Equality Act 2010.
Religion or beliefThis includes: belonging to an organised religion, for example if you’re Jewish, having a religious belief, for example you need to pray at certain times,having no religion, such as being an atheist, your philosophical beliefs, like being a pacifistReligion or belief is defined in section 10 of the Equality Act 2010.
If you’re harassed by a colleagueYour employer is responsible for any harassment done by any of your colleagues if the discrimination happens to you at:
work work-related events or business trips – like an office away daysocial events organised by them – like an office Christmas party or a work-related dinnerIf a colleague is harassing you, they and your employer are both responsible. The name in the law for your employer’s responsibility is ‘vicarious liability’. This is covered in section 109 and section 110 of the Equality Act 2010.
Your employers have a duty to protect you from discrimination if they know it’s happening.
They might also be responsible if the discrimination was done by someone they gave authority to, for example a consultant who made redundancies for them. The law calls this person an ‘agent’.
If you’re not sure whether your employer should have done more to protect you, you can get help from an adviser.
Your employer is responsible for the discrimination even if they didn’t know about it or approve of it.
It’s not enough for your employer to have an equal opportunities policy – they’ll need to show they couldn’t have reasonably done anything more.
You don’t have to have a written contract for your employer to be responsible for discrimination against you. You’re covered by the law if you’re:
an employeean apprenticeworking under an agreement with them that you’ll personally do work and they’ll pay you for ita former employeeThis includes casual and zero hours workers and some self-employed people and freelancers.
CHECK IF YOU’RE DISABLED under the Equality Act
The Equality Act 2010 sets out when someone is considered to be disabled and protected from discrimination. The definition is quite wide – so check it even if you don’t think you’re disabled. For example, you might be covered if you have a learning difficulty, dyslexia or autism.
The definition is set out in section 6 of the Equality Act 2010. It says you’re disabled if:you have a physical or mental impairment,that impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activitiesSome impairments are automatically treated as a disability. You’ll be covered if you have:cancer, including skin growths that need removing before they become cancerous,a visual impairment – this means you’re certified as blind, severely sight impaired, sight impaired or partially sightedmultiple sclerosis, an HIV infection – even if you don’t have any symptoms,a severe, long-term disfigurement – for example severe facial scarring or a skin disease
These are covered in Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010 and in Regulation 7 of the Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010. source CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU
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