Bullying At Work Law

Harassment, bullying or tormenting someone who works in the same workplace may amount to prohibited conduct under the Equality Act or a criminal offence.

Bullying At Work

The Equality Act 2010 places obligations on employers to take reasonable steps to make sure prohibited conduct including harassment does not take place in recruitment or in the workplace.

Harassment, bullying or constantly tormenting someone who works in the same workplace may well amount to prohibited conduct under the Equality Act or a criminal offence.

The protected characteristics for which there is express protection from harassment under the Equality Act 2010 are:

  • age,
  • disability,
  • gender reassignment,
  • race,
  • religion or belief,
  • sex, and
  • sexual orientation.

The Equality Act defines harassment as:

(1) A person (A) harasses another (B) if—

(a) A engages in unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, and

(b) the conduct has the purpose or effect of—

(i) violating B’s dignity, or

(ii) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.

(2) A also harasses B if—

(a) A engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, and

(b) the conduct has the purpose or effect referred to in subsection (1)(b).

(3) A also harasses B if—

(a) A or another person engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or that is related to gender reassignment or sex,

(b) the conduct has the purpose or effect referred to in subsection (1)(b), and

(c) because of B’s rejection of or submission to the conduct, A treats B less favourably than A would treat B if B had not rejected or submitted to the conduct.

(4) In deciding whether conduct has the effect referred to in subsection (1)(b), each of the following must be taken into account—

(a) the perception of B;

(b) the other circumstances of the case;

(c) whether it is reasonable for the conduct to have that effect.

Protection From Harassment Act

Harassment can be a criminal offence under a number of provisions including the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, whereby pursuing a course of conduct that someone knows, or ought to know, is harassment of another person is a criminal offence.


Equality Act 2010 (legislation)

Equality Act guidance at EHRC

Protection From Harassment Act 1997 (legislation)


Equality and Discrimination

Grievance Procedure

Employment Tribunals

Employee Handbook

Employment Rights


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Last Updated on December 15, 2020 by Admin