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.

The Practice Note also considers the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PHA 1997) (see: Protection from Harassment Act 1997, below).

This Practice Note contains references to case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Broadly, EU judgments handed down on or before the end of the Brexit transition period/IP completion day (11 pm on 31 December 2020) continue to be binding on UK courts and tribunals (even if the EU courts later depart from them) until the UK courts exercise their powers to diverge. For the most part, EU case law made after that date is not binding on the UK, although the UK courts and tribunals may continue to ‘have regard to’ EU judgments if relevant. For more detailed information on the treatment of EU case law, see Practice Note: Introduction to retained EU law—Retained case law.

Domestic laws that have been made to implement UK obligations under EU law are retained EU law. For further information, see Practice

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