Scrolling through social media, reading a newspaper or watching the news on TV in this day and age means you will have been hit with headlines regarding harassment and discrimination, particularly in the workplace. Social media, in particular, has become awash with campaigns highlighting these unfortunate and all too common occurrences, resulting in the hashtags of recent times such as #genderpaygap #metoo #timesup #thebarriersweface.
DISCRIMINATION happens when an employer treats one employee less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic such as sex or religion. An example would be where a female employee is being paid less than a male colleague for doing the same job, or an employee from a minority ethnic community is refused the training opportunities offered to other colleagues. It is a wide-reaching area of law and can be direct, indirect or classed as victimisation.
HARASSMENT is explicitly prohibited in your place of employment and is defined as any unwanted conduct related to protected social identities that has the purpose or effect of either violating the dignity of an individual or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for an individual.
Put simply, harassment means unwanted offensive or intimidating behaviour on the grounds of:
- sex, including pregnancy and maternity
- marital/civil partnership status
- gender reassignment
- religion/belief or political opinion
- sexual orientation
- trade union membership or non-membership
- status as a fixed-term or part-time worker
If you have been harassed or discriminated against in your place of work, please contact us for immediate advice.