• HARASSMENT AT WORK •
Harassment in the workplace is probably one of the most publicised areas of harassment law. Newspapers frequently carry stories about Employment Tribunal cases involving allegations of sexual or racial harassment of employees.
For further information regarding Race Discrimination go to
Similar provisions now apply to discrimination based on disability
Click here to read The Employment Rights Act 1996 which sets out the rights of employees in cases of constructive dismissal (section 95) and the rights of employers to dismiss employees who engage in harassment of fellow employees (section 98)
TIME LIMITS for bringing cases before an Employment Tribunal are tight and claims must be brought within 3 months of the date of the last incident complained of (Discrimination Cases) or 3 months from the effective date of termination of employment (Constructive Dismissal).
For further information on Employment Law generally go to The Employment Law Internet Site.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 has created a new means by which victims of harassment in the work place can obtain compensation. Most discussion regarding the Protection from Harassment Act has tended to concentrate on its criminal offences and use of Injunctions. It is however important to remember that section 3(2) of the act allows civil courts to award damages to victims of harassment for
‘(amongst other things) any anxiety caused by the harassment and any financial loss resulting from the harassment’.
If someone is harassed at their place of work they could decide to sue their employer for damages using the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 rather than by going to an Employment Tribunal. In some circumstances this route could be simpler particularly if there could be technical arguments as to whether they were an employee or a self employed contractor. Those employment law technicalities would not be relevant in any legal claim under the act. All that would be relevant is the fact that the harassment occurred, the damage it caused and whether the employer was vicariously liable for permitting, or not preventing the Harassment. The Law relating to Vicarious Liability was clarified and extended by the House of Lords in the case of Lister v Hesley Hall Ltd  UKHL 22 and following this in the case of Majrowski v. Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Trust  UKHL 34 the House of Lords held that an Employer would be vicariously liable under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 for damages arising from Harassment of an employee by other employees. The Time Limit for bringing a claim for damages under section 3 of The Protection from Harassment Act 1997. is 6 years which is far longer than the 3 month time time limit for bringing claims for Racial or Sexual Discrimination.
Click here to read An article from The Guardian 8th December 1998
(Written by Neil Addison and Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden and dealing with The Protection from Harassment Act and bullying at work ).
Trades Unions have become increasingly concerned about bullying and harassment in the work place. In 1998 the Trades Union Congress ran an extensive campaign dealing with the subject and in 1999 the Industrial Society published a valuable book
‘Harassment Bullying and Violence at Work’ dealing with the problem.
I provide training for businesses on how to avoid harassment claims and also advise on and draft anti-harassment policies and guidelines. Both of these can be worthwhile investments. It may help to save the business money in settling claims as well as helping to avoid the bad publicity such claims always generate.
· E-mail NEIL ADDISON at Harassment Law ·