Don't Suffer in Silence

You may have seen across social media the female cyclist that was catcalled by a man in a van as she commuted through London. The unnamed female was verbally abused by the man for refusing to hand out her number, the man called out “You on your period?” from outside his van window.

At the end of the video, the pursuing man gets his comeuppance as the cyclist fights back by removing his side mirror. Although social media has called out that it may be a fake, the video still highlights some important circumstances that not only happen in public, but also the work place.

Referring to the Equality Act 2010, harassment is defined as an ‘unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual’.

There are 9 protected characteristic are as follows:

Gender reassignment
Sexual orientation
Religion or belief
Marriage and civil partnership
Pregnancy and maternity

Examples of such unwanted conduct can be:

  • Starting or assisting in the spreading of rumours
  • Making insulting or threatening comments
  • Excluding a particular member of staff
  • Behaving in a way that makes the individual uncomfortable
  • Unwelcome sexual or physical advances, including touching, standing in close proximity, using sexuality as a form of advancement, violence
  • Making direct or indirect threats

Any form of bullying or harassment should not be tolerated in the workplace. Employers have a duty of care to protect their staff and you can do this through policies and procedures, training, and having a transparent reporting structure.

To find out more, get in touch with our Employment Law Solicitors here.


Published 24 February 2017