Workplace Harassment: The benefits of seeking legal advice
Harassment has moved onto the front pages of our newspapers recently with several high profile individuals being accused of a ‘casting couch’ mentality. While sexual harassment is more prevalent than many of us like to think, particularly in certain industries, there is a much wider range of harassment that can occur in the workplace. It all too often goes unnoticed but is no less damaging.
You could be the subject of discrimination or harassment depending on the colour of your skin, your age, your sex or sexual preference, a disability, your religion or even because you come from a certain background. At its core, any form of harassment violates an individual’s personal dignity and creates an unpalatable environment for them to work in – one that is often hostile, intimidating, degrading and humiliating.
The form that workplace harassment takes will vary from place to place and for person to person. You might have suffer unwanted behaviour expressed through spoken or written words and this may include threats and abuse. There could constant jokes and pranks that are aimed at you because of who you are, even comments on social media or via text that are designed to make you feel uncomfortable.
If you are being harassed at work then your employer has a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make sure that it stops. This could start by giving the person who is harassing or bullying you a verbal warning. It can end with the person being dismissed altogether because of their behaviour.
If your employer hasn’t taken sufficient steps to stop the harassment then you may be able to make a claim against them. Even if they have made every reasonable effort to solve the issue, the harassment could possibly continue so you may also be able to claim directly against the individual who is bullying you.
Any occurrence of workplace harassment is going to be distressing and can have a huge impact not only on your personal confidence and career but can also damage your health. It’s the kind of behaviour that often becomes institutionalised if it isn’t tackled by the employer and, according to organisations like ACAS, it’s a problem that seems to be on the increase.
This is not just a simple case of a ‘boss who has it in for you’ and something that you must live with if you want to get on. Harassment is just as likely to come from co-workers as it is your line manager or the owner of the business. In all cases, it is unacceptable behaviour.
For many people, making a claim against a business or individual for workplace harassment can be a difficult step to take. The truth is you have the right to go about your daily life without being bullied in the workplace.
At Forster Dean we have a qualified, experienced and friendly team of employmet law solicitors ready to talk you through each stage of the claim process. They’ll listen to your story and give you the sound advice you need to decide if you want to proceed to the next stage. Contact us today to find out more.