Harassment at work can entitle the victim to seek compensation from their employer.
Bullying is not against the law. However, harassment is unlawful under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the Equality Act when it is linked to factors such as race, religion, gender, disability or pregnancy.
Bullying and harassment can take place in a number of ways, including:-
- face-to-face communications;
- by letter;
- by email, or
- by telephone.
If someone is being bullied or harassed at work they should see if the problem can be informally sorted out in the first instance. If this doesn’t work then they should speak to their line manager, HR department or trade union representative.
A formal grievance may be made and ultimately action through an Employment Tribunal may be required. ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation & Arbitration Service) may also be able to assist with bullying and harassment at work. They can be reached on 0300 123 1100.
Employers are responsible for their employee’s health and safety and this extends to taking active steps to prevent bullying and harassment at work. Where they have failed to do this they may be liable to pay compensation to the person who has suffered harm. Compensation is based on the injury suffered and any financial losses that may have been incurred as a result.
Employers are responsible for the actions of their employees so they can be held responsible for the harassment at work of members of staff by other employees.
These claims are however difficult to establish and it is therefore vital that you consult lawyers who are experts in this complex area of law.