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The ACAS Code defines grievances as “concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers”. You can raise a grievance about things like your terms and conditions of employment, health and safety, workplace relationships, new working practices, organisational changes, equality, discrimination, bullying and harassment, and whistleblowing. Always try to resolve problems informally before raising a grievance.
ACAS defines bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. Bullying or harassment may be by an individual against an individual (perhaps by someone in a position of authority such as a manager or supervisor) or involve groups of people. It may be obvious or it may be insidious. Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual.”
There is not a single piece of legislation that deals directly with bullying and harassment at work, but there are many laws that can provide you with a remedy for bullying and harassment. Unfortunately, most of the legal framework does not prevent bullying, but rather provides you with compensation after you have been bullied.
Under section 26 of the Equality Act 2010, harassment is defined as unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of people in the workplace or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. To be protected under the Equality Act 2010, the harassment must be related to a protected characteristic. Harassment includes bullying if it relates to one of the protected characteristics listed above. Even if the harassment does not relate to a protected characteristic, you are protected by the Protection from harassment Act 1997.
This guide provides you with critical information on your legal rights, with templates and tactics to help you raise a grievance about bullying and harassment, as well as the stress that it causes.