Harassment in the workplace - do I have a claim?
Following two European harassment cases that resulted in compensation being awarded, what constitutes as harassment in the work place?
In the first case, the focus was the psychological treatment of an employee by her manager which consisted of humiliating language, threats, swearing and insults. As a result, the employee was singed off work by the local Health Authority with anxiety and when assistance was requested, it was denied. This case also highlighted a personal relationship between the employee and manager. The manager was the parent of the employee’s close friend. At first the case was dismissed by the European Parliament based on the relationship between the two, however; The General Court over turned the decision on the grounds the behaviour caused an inherently stressful atmosphere and environment to work in.
The second case again held in Europe focuses on a career that had been damaged by bullying within a European Investment bank. The employee was granted compensation from the employer however a confidentially restriction was imposed. The General Court, although agreeing with the ruling, overturned the confidentiality restriction due to it being in the public interested and such findings of harassment should be in the open to prevent further harassment occurring.
What is harrassment and how are we protected?
These two cases show different forms of harassment and how differently each case effected the claimants but what is considered as Harassment and how are we protected?
The Equality Act 2010 protects employees from harassment and bullying at work from the employer or other work colleagues and is a form of unlawful discrimination.
When someone’s behaviour becomes unwanted or unwelcome which ultimately has effect on an employee by either violating their dignity or causing their environment to feel intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive, then the employee is being unlawfully harassed as these are all examples of harassment and bullying.
Unwanted behaviour can be in written form such as emails or spoken words, these may include threats or abuse and offensive comments using social media or cyber bullying. Unwanted physical behaviour may include physical gestures, facial gestures, jokes, teasing and pranks.
Harassment in the work place can also include discrimination against someone’s age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. This enables the Equality Act to protect characteristics, so everyone is treated fairly and can work in an open environment.
Sexual harassment has become a more prominent focus in the media recently with one in five women reporting they have experience sexual harassment in the work place in 2017. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/25/two-five-women-have-sexually-harassed-workplace-poll-shows/
As the two cases above show, regardless of the industry you work in or your relationship with the employer any unwanted behaviour targeted towards you is harassment.
What to do if you think you have a Harassment claim?
If you find yourself being harassed in the work place,we can help. Please remember there are strict time limits in Employment claims and you should take good free legal advice as soon as possible.
In addition to No Win No Fee, Lawson-West solicitors act for our clients on a variety of other funding arrangements including Legal Expenses insurance funding. We can assess your case to decide which is the best funding option for you.
With offices in Leicester, Wigston and Market Harborough our employment solicitors and lawyers can discuss your employment law claim at any of our branches. In addition, we are a national provider of expert employment law advice and welcome a free discussion with you regarding your circumstances and potential claim.
If you believe you have a situation where you require free legal advice, please contact us on telephone 0116 212 1000 or 01858 445 480, alternatively fill in our Contact Us form and we will get in touch as soon as possible.View all