Harassment
Harassment

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Harassment
  • Which protected characteristics are covered
  • Types of harassment
  • Conduct must be related to a protected characteristic
  • Protected characteristics of third parties: associative discrimination
  • Perceived rather than real protected characteristics
  • Protected characteristic of disability
  • Standard harassment—unwanted unpleasant conduct
  • The purpose of the conduct
  • The effect on the victim
  • More...

This Practice Note considers harassment under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010), namely subjecting someone to unwanted conduct which is either related to a relevant protected characteristics (race, sex etc), or is of a sexual nature, where the conduct has the purpose or effect of violating the victim's dignity or creating an environment that is intimidating (eg bullying), hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive.

Which protected characteristics are covered

There is protection from harassment where it relates to one or more of the following protected characteristics (see: Protected characteristics—overview):

  1. age

  2. disability

  3. gender reassignment

  4. race

  5. religion or belief

  6. sex, and

  7. sexual orientation

Note that marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity are not explicitly protected; see: Harassment which is not protected, below.

Types of harassment

There is one type of harassment which is common to all the protected characteristics which are covered (see above): see Standard harassment—unwanted unpleasant conduct, below.

Further types of harassment claim (in addition to standard harassment claims) are available in relation to conduct which is:

  1. of a sexual nature: see Conduct of a sexual nature and Rejection of, or submission to, harassing behaviour, below

  2. related to gender reassignment, or related to sex: see Rejection of, or submission to, harassing behaviour, below

Conduct must be related to a protected characteristic

Except where the harassing conduct is of a sexual nature, the claimant must show that the conduct was 'related to' one of

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