This web page should be read in conjunction with the web page Discrimination - Protected Characteristics 

What is harassment?

Harassment is prohibited under section 26 of the Equality Act 2010 and occurs for a reason related to a protected characteristic and is unlawful, if the conduct is unwanted and has the purpose or effect of:

  • violating an employee's dignity or
  • creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Such conduct will only amount to harassment if in all the circumstances, the perception of the conduct, is reasonably considered to have that purpose or effect.

The relevant protected characteristics are: age; disability; gender reassignment; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. The exceptions are marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity.

Harassment due to sex can also be due to conduct that is of a sexual nature. This can include unwelcome sexual advances, touching, forms of sexual assault, sexual jokes, displaying pornographic photographs or drawings or sending emails with material of a sexual nature.

Liability for harassment

An employer will be vicariously liable for the acts of its employees and workers unless it can show it took reasonably practical steps to prevent it from happening.

What remedies are available for harassment?

If an employee believes that an employer (or other person) has harassed them they can bring an employment tribunal claim.

Employment tribunals can award unlimited compensation, which can include an award for injury to feeling and financial loss because of the discrimination.

How long do you have to bring an employment tribunal claim?

An employment tribunal claim for harassment must be received by a tribunal within 3 months of the complaining act (ie 3 months less 1 day).  This can be the last act in a series of detrimental acts over a period of time.  

The time limit can be extended during Acas early conciliation, which must be started before the time limit has expired.

The time limit is a strict one and will only be extended in certain circumstances.

The material contained in this web page is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. Appropriate legal advice should be sought for specific circumstances and before action is taken.

Contact me

Email: marc@marcjonessolicitor.com

Telephone: 07434 740657

LinkedIn: marcjonessolicitor

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