Five FAQs about harassment in the workplace
Are bullying and harassment the same thing?
The two terms are generally used interchangeably, but if you are being bullied at work, any complaint you make will usually be dealt with under the harassment regulations that Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) have developed. If you are being harassed at work, you should complain to your employer. If they fail to act, contact an employment law solicitor for advice on the further action you could take.
How is harassment defined by Acas?
Harassment is generally defined as any unwanted conduct. This unwanted conduct could include being harassed on the grounds of race, sex, religion or age. In addition, harassment can also take place via email or the telephone. If you are unsure whether your experiences constitute harassment, an employment law solicitor can clarify this for you.
Is sexual harassment the same as sex discrimination?
Employment law does identify a distinction between the two. Sexual harassment would take place if a colleague exhibited unwanted sexual behaviour towards you. This could be via images or explicit jokes, for example. Sex discrimination occurs if you are being treated less favourably because of your gender.
Can I use an Employment Tribunal to settle my harassment case?
If you have been forced to leave your job because of the harassment you have been suffering, this could be constructive dismissal. You would need to show with evidence that sexual harassment has occurred and that this harassment amounted to a breach of your employment contract by your employer. It is advisable to have an employment law solicitor supporting you throughout your case.
How can a solicitor help with harassment in the workplace?
As there are many different types of harassment that you could experience in the workplace, an employment law solicitor can clarify the law regarding your experiences. If you have a strong case, your solicitor can then help you through the Employment Tribunal process.
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