Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
Examples of bullying or harassing behaviour include:
spreading malicious rumoursunfair treatmentpicking on or regularly undermining someonedenying someone’s training or promotion opportunitiesBullying and harassment can happen:
face-to-faceby letterby emailby phoneThe lawBullying itself is not against the law, but harassment is. This is when the unwanted behaviour is related to one of the following:
agesexdisabilitygender reassignmentmarriage and civil partnershippregnancy and maternityracereligion or beliefsexual orientationWhat employees should do if they’re bullied or harassedEmployees should see if they can sort out the problem informally first. If they cannot, they should talk to their:
managerhuman resources (HR) departmenttrade union representativeIf this does not work, they can make a formal complaint using their employer’s grievance procedure. If this does not work and they’re still being harassed, they can take legal action at an employment tribunal.
They could also call the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helpline for advice:
Acas helplineTelephone: 0300 123 1100Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pmFind out about call charges
Acas has also produced a guidance leaflet on bullying and harassment.
Download ‘Bullying and harassment at work: a guide for employees’ (PDF, 215KB)
Employers’ responsibilitiesEmployers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment – they’re liable for any harassment suffered by their employees.
Anti-bullying and harassment policies can help prevent problems. Acas has produced a booklet for employers, including advice on setting up a policy as well as how to recognise, deal with and prevent bullying and harassment. Gov
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