The following Employment guidance 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
  • Standard harassment—unwanted unpleasant conduct
  • Conduct of a sexual nature
  • Rejection of, or submission to, harassing behaviour
  • Actions of third parties
  • Harassment which is not protected
  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997

STOP PRESS: A statutory Code of Practice on sexual harassment and harassment at work (which will be preceded by technical guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission) to help employers to better understand what is expected of them by law, in particular what might be considered ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent harassment, and explicit provisions against third party harassment in the Equality Act 2010 are among a number of proposals relating to sexual harassment in the workplace put forward by the Government Equalities Office in a consultation. For further information, see: LNB News 12/07/2019 62.

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

It will be noted that marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity are not explicitly protected; see: Harassment—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,