What do you need to care about?

Types of Harassment

So what does all of this mean for you? Unlike direct discrimination, harassment does not require a real or hypothetical comparator.  It is therefore not necessary for the worker to show that another person was, or would have been treated more favourably. (For further information on discrimination please see a previous article I have written).

EqA (The Equality Act) prohibits three types of harassment.  These are:

  • Harassment related to a “relevant protected  characteristic”;
  • Sexual harassment;  and
  • Less favourable treatment of a worker because they submit to, or resist, sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment.

The relevant protected characteristics are:discrimination drawing

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Harassment Related to a Protected Characteristic

For this type of harassment to occur a person has to engage in unwanted conduct which is related to a relevant protected characteristic and which has the purpose or the effect of:

  • Violating the worker’s dignity, or
  • Creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that worker.

It should be noted that unwanted conduct may include a wide variety of behaviours.  It can for instance be:

  • spoken or written words or views
  • imagery
  • graffiti
  • physical gestures
  • facial expressions
  • mimicry
  • jokes
  • pranks
  • acts affecting a person’s surrounding or other physical behaviour

Go to Part 3 – What does your staff handbook say? Examples of harassment       ¦       Or go back to Part 1

Sofie Lyeklint

Sofie has recently joined the firm and heads up the Employment department specialising in all aspects of employment law. She has a particular interest in Tribunals and drafting employment contracts, staff handbooks and settlement agreements. Sofie also works closely with our Commercial Property and Residential Property departments specialising in Collective Enfranchisement, which is flat owners entitlement to collectively purchase their own freehold, the Right to Manage and Lease Extensions. She is committed to reaching the best commercial outcome for our clients.

Sofie speaks fluent Swedish and Chinese and graduated with a Chinese & Politics honours degree from School of Oriental and African Studies in 2005. She then spent a few years living and working in China before returning to the UK to qualify as a solicitor. In her free time she enjoys scuba diving, boxercise, running and travelling.

She can be contacted at +44 (0)1273 204411 or by email to sofie@engleharts.co.uk
Sofie Lyeklint