Workplace Harassment Lawyers

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Workplace Harassment Solicitors

Harassment in the workplace can take a wide variety of different forms. Examples of workplace harassment include the following : –

  1. Spreading malicious rumours; 
  2. unfair treatment;
  3. refusing to provide equal training or promotion opportunities;
  4. picking on an employee regularly or undermining that employee; and
  5. persistent different treatment which is less favourable towards a particular individual.

If employees are being subjected to treatment which amounts to harassment, it is advisable for them to address the matter informally at first if this is possible, but if not, they should raise the matter formally with a member of the employer’s human resources department, a manager or a trade union representative. 

Workplace Harassment

If employees have already raised the matter formally and have not obtained recourse for the issues concerned, they may wish to consider raising the matter as a formal grievance complaint. In this case, the employee should refer to the employer’s internal grievance procedure which is typically contained within an employee handbook and on the company’s intranet. 

In the event that this process still does not remedy the issues raised by the employee, consideration should be given to taking formal legal action. Prior to taking formal legal action, individuals would be well advised to contact the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to commencer the early conciliation process.

The type of claim which may arise in the event that the harassment is not linked to a protected characteristic is referred to as constructive unfair dismissal. In this case, an employee would argue that the treatment that they have received which amounted to harassment, also constituted a repudiatory breach of their employment contract. Typically, in this situation, an employee would argue that the implied terms of trust and confidence had being breached by the acts or omissions of a third party and, as a result, the employee was forced to accept this breach by resigning and pursuing a claim of constructive unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal.

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Manager Harassment

Difference in treatment, or less favourable persistent treatment, can amount to discrimination in the event that that difference in treatment or less favourable persistent treatment is linked to a protected characteristic. Protected characteristics include race or religion, nationality, sex, age and or sexuality. This type of harassment given gives rise to a claim under the Equality Act 2010 for discrimination. Discrimination claims, weather related to harassment or ordinary acts or omissions of discrimination, give rise to claims in the employment tribunal for unlimited damages.

Unfortunately, workplace statistics indicate that workplace harassment is becoming increasingly prevalent despite the protections that are in place. If the workplace harassment is by a manager, the employee should of course consider raising the matter with somebody other than the manager concerned, even in a situation where the internal grievance procedure does not allow for this. It is not necessary for individuals to except poor treatment within the workplace which amounts to harassment. In the event this treatment is not remedied when complained about, it is likely that it will only give rise to a claim of constructive unfair dismissal if no protected characteristic is at play. Alternatively, in the event the harassment is related to a protected characteristic, it could give rise to a discrimination claim for unlimited damages. In either case, the lawyers here at DPH Legal can assist individuals who are being subjected to harassment of any type by their employer or by individuals who are working at that employer.  For further guidance on this area, please do not hesitate to get in touch by calling the telephone number provided.

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