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Harassment occurs if there is unwanted conduct which is “related to” a protected characteristic.  It occurs when an individual engages in unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of either violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.  This could include making unwanted sexual advances towards a fellow colleague, or forms of “banter” that are based on a protected characteristic.


Victimisation for the purposes of the law is where an employee is subjected to a detriment because they have done, or may do, a “protected act”.  A protected act can be bringing proceedings or giving evidence or information in relation to proceedings under the Equality Act, alleging that they (or someone else) has been discriminated against, or doing anything else for the purpose of or in connection with the Act.  An example would be an employee that raises a grievance alleging that they have been racially harassed, who is then given less favourable job duties at work.

Failure to Make Reasonable Adjustments

There is also a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace for disabled employees and job applicants.  The duty can arise if a disabled person is placed at a substantial disadvantage..  An example would be an employee with epilepsy who has to work under fluorescent lighting when this could cause seizures.  A reasonable adjustment could mean changing the form of lighting in the office.

Compensation for discrimination

An employee who succeeds in a discrimination claim against their employer may be awarded compensation for loss of earnings if they have had to leave their job and also an award for “injury to feelings”.  There is no maximum limit on compensation that can be claimed for discrimination and a claim can have a serious impact of a business.

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As experienced HR Advisors and Employment Law solicitors we see first-hand how HR issues can affect both the employee and the employer.

Our training is very well received by attendees and is delivered by lawyers and HR advisors, with combined knowledge and expertise, in a practical way which works for your business.

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