Essential points

  • Bullying and harassment cover a wide range of actions and, for example, picking on someone, spreading malicious rumours about them, denying them training opportunities or otherwise treating them unfairly at work can amount to bullying and/or harassment.
  • While there is no specific law against bullying, harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 if it is related to age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, race, and religion or belief.
  • Employers can be liable for any harassment their employees suffer at work from their colleagues. Employers will not generally be liable for harassment meted out to employees by third parties , and a recent move by the government to introduce third party harassment has been dropped.
  • Employers can defend a claim if they can show they have taken “all reasonable steps” to prevent the harassment.
  • Having an up-to-date anti-bullying and harassment policy, on which employees receive regular training, can help to prevent problems arising and to defend any complaints. 

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‚ÄčPlease note: While every care has been taken in compiling this content, CIPD cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. These notes are not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice. 

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