EAT ruling that negative comments did not constitute harassment


EAT Ruling that Negative comments at work did not constitute harassment

In a recent case heard at the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the Appellate Judge ruled that negative comments made by work colleagues about a disabled MGV driver did not constitute harassment because he was unaware of them.

Mr Greasley-Adams claimed that his colleagues at Royal Mail Group were harassing him because of his disability. However, in Mr A Greasley-Adams v Royal Mail Group Ltd, the Appellate Judge, the Honourable Lady Haldane, dismissed his claim. She ruled that the negative comments made by his colleagues did not amount to harassment because Mr Greasley-Adams was not aware of them.

The Judge concluded that in order to decide whether any conduct related to a protected characteristic is harassment, a Tribunal must consider whether the victim perceives themselves to have suffered the effect in question and whether it was reasonable for the conduct to be regarded as having that effect.

The Tribunal must also take all the other circumstances into account. If the Claimant does not perceive their dignity to have been violated or an adverse environment created, then the conduct should not be found to have had that effect. If it was not reasonable for the conduct to be regarded as violating the Claimant’s dignity or creating an adverse environment for them, then it should not be found to have done so.

Therefore, in this case, since Mr Greasley-Adams was unaware of the negative comments made by his colleagues, he did not perceive himself as having suffered any effect in question. Hence, according to Honourable Lady Haldane’s ruling, such comments did not amount to harassment.

Feel free to contact our solicitors if you find yourself in a similar position and need legal advice about what constitutes harassment at work.


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