Harassment is never okay. We condemn unacceptable behaviour, including all forms of harassment under the Equality Act 2010. 

If you know someone who has been affected by harassment, you are not alone, support is available. 

What is harassment? 

Harassment is unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct which may (intentionally or unintentionally) violate a person’s dignity or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, which interferes with an individual’s learning, working or social environment. It also includes treating someone less favourably because they have submitted or refused to submit to such behaviour in the past.

Unlawful harassment may involve sexual harassment or be related to a protected characteristic such as age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.  We believe harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of these categories. 

Harassment may include, for example:

  • unwanted physical conduct or ‘horseplay’, including touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing, brushing past someone, invading their personal space and more serious forms of physical or sexual assault
  • offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, or insensitive jokes or pranks
  • mocking, mimicking or belittling a person’s disability
  • racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes, or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about a particular ethnic or religious group or gender
  • outing or threatening to out someone as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans
  • ignoring or shunning someone, for example, by deliberately excluding them from a conversation or a social activity.

A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended "target". For example, a person may be harassed by racist jokes about a different ethnic group if they create an offensive environment.

What can you do?

Talk - If someone you know has been affected, you can encourage them to seek support. Alternatively you make an anonymous disclosure which will allow us to investigate if there are multiple instances in one area.

Find out more:
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provides further information on unlawful harassment

Seek Support - There are a number of specialist organisations that provide specialist support, including counselling for those affected by harassment. You could encourage your colleague to reach out to such support. 

A list of organisations can be found here.

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