The Protection From Harassment Act 1997
Standard occupational stress claims are based upon common law negligence and many workplace bullying and harassment claims are brought on that basis (see section on occupational stress). However, following the case of Majrowski v Guy's & St. Thomas's NHS Trust (2006), Claimant's now have the option of bringing a claim under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
In the Majrowski case, the Court of Appeal held that an employer can be held vicariously liable for acts of workplace bullying and harassment by their employees committed in the course of their employment against fellow employees and other third parties. The Majrowski case was upheld by the House of Lords on the 12th July 2006
To amount to workplace bullying and harassment in breach of the Act, a Claimant must show that the alleged offender pursued a course of conduct amounting to workplace bullying and harassment which they knew, or ought to have known, amounted to workplace bullying and harassment, having regard to whether a reasonable person possessing the same information would think that the course of conduct amounted to workplace bullying and harassment. Hence, the conduct must be intentional and comprise of more than one act of misconduct. Further, the Claimant will need to show that the employer either foresaw or ought to have foreseen that the type of injury the Claimant sustained was a possible consequence of the offenders misconduct (i.e. workplace bullying and harassment)
Sexual harassment is unlawful and is defined under the Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations 2005 and the Equality Act (EA) 2010 as any unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity or the creation of an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment. It also includes any unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that violates a person's dignity at work.
Harassment is defined as unwanted conduct which violates the victims dignity or which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Following changes introduced by the EA 2010, these regulations apply to claims relating to race, ethnic, and national origins, and colour and nationality.
Disability Related Harassment
This is defined under the EA 2010 as unwanted conduct that violates the victims dignity or which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.
Age Related Harassment
Age related harassment is now illegal under the new Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 which came into force on the 1st October 2006 and under the EA 2010. Under the regulations, a person is unlawfully harassed for a reason relating to their age if they are subjected to unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating their dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
Changes Introduced By The Equality Act 2010
The law relating to harassment has been extended by The Equality Act 2010 with effect from October 2010 so that employees can bring a complaint for harassment (i.e. in relation to racial, sexual, sexual orientation, disability related, and age related harassment) even where it is not directed at them personally, so long as they can show that the harassment created an offensive environment for them to work in.
What To Do If You Have A Bullying And/Or Harassment Claim
Should you require advice on bullying and harassment, then please do not hesitate to contact us. We can be contacted either by telephoning us on 0333 3010 700, or by completing the questionnaire on the right hand side of this page.
As a specialist employment law firm, you can rely upon us to provide you with quality advice from a leading employment law solicitor within the profession.
Please note that we offer a free initial consultation.
Should you have been offered a Settlement Agreement (which used to be known as Compromise Agreements) which you require independent advice on, then please call one of our employment law solicitors immediately on 0333 3010 700, or complete the questionnaire on the right hand side of this page. We will then arrange an appointment with you to go through the Settlement Agreement.