The Equality Act 2010 prohibits bullying and harassment in the workplace. For employees the impact of such behaviour, either from fellow workers or bosses can be significant and very difficult to deal with. For employers, such conduct creates disharmony in the workforce leading to poor productivity. Further, the employer may find themselves facing a tribunal or court case where compensation can be significant.
It is therefore in the interests of all parties to ensure that there is harmony in the workplace. It is for the employer to put in place clear guidelines about acceptable behaviour, clear guidance that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated and will be quickly dealt with through clear and robust policies.
Basically this is behaviour carried out either by an individual or a group that makes a fellow worker feel intimidated or demeaned. It can occur in many ways such as victimising a person, making offensive comments to them or undermining the person through repeated unwarranted criticism. This can be behaviour by a boss or it could be happening with the employer unaware of it. Such behaviour can happen only once or can be part of a pattern of behaviour. It can also occur face to face or through written communications such as emails.
Harassing behaviour again demeans and is basically unwanted conduct linked to factors such as sex, race, age or disability. The Equality Act outlaws harassing behaviour and it will be viewed very seriously should an employer tolerate such conduct or act in that way themselves.
Many people do not wish to confront such behaviour. Resignation should not be considered and employees should report such conduct immediately to their manager or a person they feel able to confide in. Reporting of such a matter should be entirely confidential. It is then for the employer to invoke the relevant clear procedures to ensure that the matter is investigated and the conduct quickly stopped.
If you are an employee who is being subjected to bullying or harrasment then please contact Employment Law Edinburgh today.
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