Half the population suffer bullying, harassment and discrimination ... most only recognize it when they read this
What is harassment?
Harassment is any form of unwanted and unwelcome behaviour which may range from mildly unpleasant remarks to physical violence.
Harassment is termed sexual harassment if the unwanted behaviours are linked to your gender or sexual orientation. The EU definition of sexual harassment is "unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or other conduct based on sex affecting the dignity of men and women at work".
Racial harassment is when the behaviours are linked to your skin colour, race, cultural background, etc. In countries with sectarian tradition (eg as in Ireland) the term sectarian harassment is often used if the behaviours are linked to your religious beliefs or perceived religious origin or inclination. If the harassment is physical, the criminal law of assault may be appropriate. If the harassment comprises regular following, watching, repeated unsolicited contact or gifts, etc, the term stalking may be appropriate.
Discrimination is when you are treated differently (eg less favourably) because of your gender, race or disability.
The differences between harassment and bullying are summarised on the page on bullying. Briefly, harassment tends to have a strong physical component and is usually linked to gender, race, disability or physical violence; bullying tends to be a large number of incidents (individually trivial) over a long period comprising constant unjustified and unsubstantiated criticism. To see quickly if you're being bullied click here.
Areas of UK law that apply to harassment
The principal areas of UK law relating to harassment comprise:
- Sex Discrimination Act 1975: discrimination on the grounds of sex by dismissing an employee or submitting them to "any other detriment"
- Race Relations Act 1976: ditto on racial grounds
- Disability Discrimination Act 1995: ditto on grounds of disability
- Protection from Harassment Act 1996: harassment and stalking
- Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994: intentional harassment for causing another person harassment, alarm or distress by using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour
- Criminal law of assault
Bullying is the common denominator of harassment, discrimination, abuse, violence etc, so see other relevant laws on the legal page and case law page. The source of most bullying and harassment can usually be traced to one individual. Most people know one person in their life with this profile - who is it in your life?
Bullying and harassment (at work, in society, at school and at home) is a major cause of injury to health, both physical and mental. To see how prolonged negative stress (such as that caused by bullying and harassment) causes injury to health, click here. Over time, bullying and harassment result in trauma, which is a psychiatric injury, the collective symptoms of which often constitute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Click here for details; the page also tell you the difference between mental illness and psychiatric injury - important for re-empowerment and legal action.
Sexual harassment Internet resources
Where now at Bully OnLine?
How can I recognise that I'm being bullied?
What is bullying and why me? | Definitions of bullying
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about bullying
Overcoming myths, misperceptions and stereotypes
The answer to Why don't you stand up for yourself?
Bullying and vulnerability
Why have my colleagues deserted me?
What's the difference between bullying and mobbing?
What is harassment and discrimination?
Why grievance procedures are inappropriate for dealing with bullying
The difference between bullying and management
Facts, figures, surveys, costs of bullying | Cost of bullying to UK plc
UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line statistics
Profile of the serial bully - who does this describe in your life?
Antisocial Personality Disorder | Narcissistic Personality Disorder
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Bullying of lecturers in further education
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Bullying in the public sector - the political dimension and
why trade unions fail to support their members
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The Secret Tragedy of Working: Work Abuse - PTSD Chauncey Hare
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The Field Foundation
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