There are ways to stop harassment if you have been subject to it. Other options are also available, such as seeking an apology or compensation.
Start by checking whether harassment was discrimination as per the Equality Act 2010. You have legal rights to remedy the situation if it was discrimination.
Even if you didn’t experience discrimination, you still have the right to take legal action. You might be able, for example, to sue the harasser.
Verify if harassment was discriminatory
You might have experienced harassment that was discrimination under the Equality Act. It is important to determine if:
- The Equality Act makes the harasser liable.
- You were harassed for your race or age – these are known as ‘protected attributes’
What happened was harassment under the Equality Act
Verify if the person is subject to the Equality Act. Only certain situations are covered by the Equality Act. The Equality Act does not usually consider harassment in public places or shouting at you from their car to be discrimination.
If it was done by:
- your employer
- Your school, college, or university
- A business or service provider such as a shop or train company.
- A health or care provider is someone who provides care, such as a hospital or care home.
- A landlord or estate agent
- Public authorities such as the police and your local council
The organisation can also be held responsible for discrimination if someone works for these organizations. If your employer harasses you, for example, both your employer and your colleague are legally responsible.
It is not discrimination if another customer harasses or uses your business or service. If the customer continues harassing you, it could be discrimination. However, the business or service is aware of the harassment but does not stop them.
Verify if the problem was caused by a protected characteristic
If it was related to any of these protected characteristics, the harassment you suffered was discrimination under Section 62 of the Equality Act
- Religion or philosophical beliefs, such as humanism, are examples.
Gender reassignment is what it means if your transgender self describes you.
If someone harasses you for making a mistake about your protected characteristics, it’s discrimination. It’s discrimination, for example, if your housemate is straight and your landlord makes offensive remarks about your sexual orientation. This is known as ‘discrimination based on perception’.
It’s discrimination if someone harasses you for a protected characteristic of someone you know. It’s discrimination, for example, if your colleague learned that your partner is disabled and then makes upsetting remarks about people with this disability. This is known as “discrimination through association”.
You can check if harassment was committed under the Equality Act.
If both of these apply, the harassment you suffered was discrimination under Section 201 of the Equality Act.
You didn’t wish it to happen
You were afraid, humiliated, or offended by the behavior of another person.
Harassment could include verbal abuse, bullying and making jokes about others. Harassment can also include sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment could include comments on your appearance or clothes, sending you sexual content or making sexual comments about you. Sexual harassment can be defined as when your coworkers share offensive sexual jokes on a WhatsApp group.
Harassment can also be caused by someone treating you more harshly because of how you react to:
- Sexual harassment
- Harassment of transphobic or sexist nature
- If you didn’t experience discrimination,
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You might be eligible to pursue a different type action if you have been harassed but it is not discrimination under Equality Act.