Bullying & harassment

Bullying and harassment are difficult issues to deal with the workplace – whether you feel you are on the receiving end or you are accused of being a perpetrator.

In either case, it is often helpful to be able to discuss the issues with an experienced legal adviser. At Archon we have a great deal of experience of a wide variety of circumstances in which bullying and/or harassment has been raised as an issue.

“Bullying” is not a legally defined term but is usually used to describe unwanted conduct by another which is felt to be intimidating or offensive. Bullying can often arise from an abuse of power or position.

“Harassment” overlaps with bullying and is defined in the equality legislation, for example in relation to sexual and racial harassment. The definition is quite complex, but it is worth noting that it includes both subjective and objective elements. In other words, whether a person subjectively feels intimidated is a relevant factor, but so too is whether a reasonable person in that position would feel that way.

In practice, issues of bullying and harassment are very sensitive to the context. What might be acceptable behaviour in some contexts may well be completely unacceptable in others.

Our work for executives (whether alleged victim or alleged perpetrator) in this area includes:

  • Assessing and distilling the issues
  • Advising on strategy
  • Advising in relation to any relevant internal procedures and the potential alternatives
  • Acting and advising in relation to any without prejudice discussions which may take place
  • Advising in relation to any potential regulatory or other external implications
  • Providing guidance and assistance with the conduct of internal procedures, including drafting statements and collating relevant documents
  • Providing guidance and assistance with appeals against internal decisions where necessary
  • Acting for executives bringing or defending legal claims in respect of bullying and/or harassment issues which are not resolved satisfactorily through internal and/or informal means