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SKU: 7.32
  • Advice

    What is Harassment?

    Under the Equality Act 2010, Harassment is defined as conduct that is aggressive, offensive or rude, targeting ‘protected characteristics. You cannot file claims against employers for bullying, only harassment. You should report instances of bullying to your employer, HR department or the Equality and Human Rights Commission.


    Harassment may happen in one (Direct) or several (Combined) instances. Types of harassment vary and can occur as a result of poor workplace policies or a lack of reporting, leading to a toxic work environment. It is important in every workplace that there are procedures in place to prevent this type of conduct, even if you are working from home.


    Common examples of specific workplace harassment are:

    • Offensive name-calling - this may be derogatory to your race or sexuality;
    • Purposeful embarrassment - exposing private photos, videos or revenge pornography;
    • Physical threats - threats of harm, revealing your address and threatening to visit and harm you;
    • Sustained Harassment - any of these categories carried out on more than one occasion, over any period or length of time;
    • Stalking - following your posts, commenting and private messaging you without your consent, they may create fake accounts even if you have blocked them; or
    • Sexual Harassment - such as unwanted sexual advances, sexual jokes or verbal harassment making sexually suggestive comments about your appearance, personality or attitude.


    Civil remedies are available for victims of these crimes. This may include damages (compensation) for any loss you may have suffered as a direct result of your harassment, or damages for any anxiety that has been caused as a result of this harassment.


    Physical Harassment

    This is where someone physically interacts with you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, fearful or distressed. Companies will likely have policies that seek to stop physical harassment and provide a means for vulnerable employees to report it to a trusted source (such as ourselves, HR or to the police).


    Physical Abuse: Threats and Property

    Physical harassment does not need to hurt you directly. ‘Workplace violence’ extends to direct threats or intent to harm. The harm does not need to be against you or your workmates. Instead, it may be against personal property that belongs to you. If someone defaces or destroys something that belongs to you it falls under physical harassment. Remedies to this are widespread depending on the severity of the incident. Before taking any action, consult your workplace harassment policy to see what you can do about the situation.


    Physical Abuse: Personal

    This is where you are physically impacted in a purposeful manner that does not relate to your workplace. If you or someone you know is experiencing physical abuse in the workplace, you need to report it immediately. File a grievance under the grievance procedure in your company through your HR department, or contact someone else to do it for you. If neither option is available then we suggest you consider starting a case to rectify the situation.


    Verbal Harassment

    Verbal harassment is an offence committed when you feel that you have been talked to in a way that you feel is offensive or derogatory. Examples of this type of harassment are: -


    Public Order Offences - These are offences that include threatening, insulting or abusive words in a public space (spaces which are not private properties, which also cover the workplace) or posters, emails and other visible representations which are intended to cause harm to you or another employee based on sexual, religious or racial characteristics.


    Harassment - When a person engages in conduct that they know, or ought to know is harassing behaviour. The test for whether they are doing so is whether they have harassed you on another occasion by the same person or groups of people. These occasions are not limited to verbal harassment. This still applies even when you are part of a group that is being harassed.



    Generally speaking, you are being stalked if you have been followed, contacted or accosted by an individual who you have made clear to that you are avoiding, or to your knowledge does not know you but has made attempts to follow you on more than one instance, online or physically. If you feel you are being stalked you should contact the Police immediately.


    Online Harassment

    Online Harassment takes advantage of the general anonymity of the web to harass employees and businesses. By using an intranet or social media the perpetrator may send insulting, vulgar or inappropriate language to you or your colleagues. In some circumstances, these may impact your ability to do your job and may cause you severe mental and financial harm.



    Scams are, as is implied by the name, a means for a colleague or internet hacker to gain access to your bank account or to rip you off in some way. This is especially relevant to the workplace, emails or information which have been exposed to scammers and may be exploited to gain confidential information.


    How businesses protect staff

    Businesses typically create ‘intranets’, a form of online file and data sharing using private credentials and a login requirement which limits the interaction that employees have while using the intranet with others who are not permitted to access it. Use these protections when saving sensitive information that relates to your business or employer. Ideally, your professional and personal profiles online should be completely separate.

    You should be mindful of not exposing any details about your personal life which can lead back to you on social platforms, such as where you work, when you work and who you work with. If you are not happy with everyone on the internet seeing a picture of you or your family and friends or the contents of a post you should not put it up. Use privacy settings to limit your personal information from being revealed to others. Document everything, often when you are harassed, it will leave some trace. Remain calm and take details of the time, comments made place and store it somewhere safe for when you make a report. it is important to ensure that you have copies of the abuse, especially if the perpetrator deletes their posts or profile for reference when you are filing a report. Be wary of any links that are sent to you from someone you do not know or trust. These may contain viruses that can breach company records and allow access to secure data.


    How we can help

    Upon starting a case your caseworker will examine the three areas of harassment (Physical, Verbal and Online). All forms of Harassment constitute crimes and may be punishable under the court system in the UK. To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, you will then need deposit a sum equal to one hour’s usage, upon receipt of these funds you will be assigned your personal caseworker who will telephone you to discuss the matter and make suggestions on how to proceed.


    Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact.

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