Employment Tax

Harassment

Produced by Tolley in association with Emma Bartlett at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP
  • 09 Feb 2022 21:46

The following Employment Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with Emma Bartlett at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Harassment
  • Harassment related to a protected characteristic
  • Protected characteristics of third parties ― associative discrimination
  • Perceived rather than real protected characteristics
  • Harassment of a sexual nature
  • The effect on the victim
  • The conduct
  • Rejection of / submission to harassing behaviour
  • Liability for the harassment by third parties
  • Claims under the Protection from Harassment Act

Harassment

Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 where it:

  1. relates to a relevant protected characteristic

  2. constitutes sexual harassment

  3. constitutes less favourable treatment as a result of a victim's acceptance or rejection of:

    1. sexual harassment

    2. harassment related to the protected characteristic of gender reassignment or sex

EqA 2010, s 26

Harassment related to a protected characteristic

Harassment is conduct which is:

  1. unwanted

  2. related to a relevant protected characteristic

Where that unwanted conduct has the purpose or effect of:

  1. violating the victim's dignity

  2. creating an environment that is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive to the victim

EqA 2010, s 26(1)

See Example 1, Example 2 and Example 3.

Protected characteristics of third parties ― associative discrimination

As the unwanted conduct need only be 'related to' the relevant protected characteristic, it is clear that the victim of the harassment does not have to possess that characteristic.

Rather, the relevant protected characteristic might belong to some relevant third party.

Discrimination claims brought in relation to the effect of a protected characteristic possessed by someone other than the claimant are sometimes called ‘associative discrimination’ claims (ie the harassment relates to the claimant's association with a person who possesses that characteristic).

The Equality Act Explanatory Notes confirm that harassment protection is intended to cover associative discrimination. It gives the example of a white worker who sees a black colleague being subjected to racially abusive language which also causes an offensive environment for the white worker.

Also see Example 4.

Perceived rather than real protected characteristics

As noted above, the unwanted conduct does not have to relate to

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