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Bullying in the workplace
A person harasses another person if they engage in unwanted conduct related to a “relevant protected characteristic” and the conduct “has the purpose or effect of violating the other person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the other person”. The relevant protected characteristics are sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, age and disability.
An employer may be harassed subject to a defence that took all reasonable steps to prevent the harassment. An employer can also be liable under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, depending on the nature of the conduct perpetrated by a worker or someone in the workplace. Obviously there are huge ramifications for all involved.
Additionally, an employer must provide adequate security precautions where it is reasonably foreseeable that employees may suffer violence in the course of their work.
Employers have a duty to safeguard their employees against bullying in the workplace or harassment at work, even where this does not cause actual physical harm. Where an employer fails to investigate a complaint of bullying or harassment fully and take prompt action, this may be sufficient grounds for the employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal.