Workplace Harassment and Victimisation Cases: Your Legal Rights

Workplace Harassment and Victimisation Cases: Your Legal Rights

Workplace harassment and victimisation are serious issues that can have profound effects on an individual’s well-being and professional life. In Northern Ireland, strict legislation is in place to protect employees from such unacceptable behaviours. Mcpartland & Sions aims to shed light on your legal rights in the context of workplace harassment and victimisation, guiding you in navigating the legal avenues available to you.

Understanding Workplace Harassment and Victimisation:

Harassment is defined as unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic, including age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. 

Victimisation occurs when an individual is treated unfavourably because they have taken action against discrimination or harassment, or they have supported someone who has.

Legal Protections in Northern Ireland:

The primary legislation governing workplace harassment and victimisation in Northern Ireland is the Employment Equality (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 and the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998. These laws establish the framework for safeguarding employees from discrimination, harassment, and victimisation based on the specified protected characteristics.

Types of Harassment:

Harassment can manifest in various forms, such as 

Verbal abuse

Offensive jokes

Unwanted advances

Exclusionary behaviour. 

It is essential to recognise these behaviours and understand that they are not only unacceptable but also illegal. Employers are obligated to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment and to address any complaints promptly.

Your Rights as an Employee:

If you experience harassment or victimisation in the workplace, you have the right to raise the issue with your employer. The employer should conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate action to address the problem. If the issue persists or if you face retaliation for reporting, you may take the matter to an employment tribunal.

Filing a Grievance:

The grievance procedure provides a formal process for employees to raise concerns about their employment. If you are facing harassment or victimisation, it is advisable to follow your employer’s grievance procedure. This involves submitting a written grievance detailing the nature of the issue and the actions you would like your employer to take.

The Role of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland:

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is a key institution in the fight against workplace discrimination. They guide employment rights and can assist in resolving disputes. If informal resolution attempts fail, the Commission can also support you in taking your case to an employment tribunal.

Legal Remedies

In cases of proven harassment or victimisation, an employment tribunal has the authority to award compensation to the victim. This may include financial compensation for the harm suffered and, in some cases, an order for the employer to take specific actions to prevent further instances of harassment.

Protection against Retaliation:

It is crucial to note that the law protects employees from retaliation for asserting their rights or filing a complaint. If you face adverse treatment or dismissal due to your involvement in a harassment or victimisation case, you may have grounds for further legal action against your employer.

If you find yourself facing such circumstances, seeking legal advice is a proactive step toward asserting your rights and fostering a workplace free from harassment and victimisation. Remember, you have the right to work in an environment that values and respects your dignity and rights as an employee. Our specialist team at McPartland & Sons are here to help you every step of the way. Contact us for more information on how we can help with your case. 

Related Blogs:

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Employment Law in Northern Ireland: Your Rights and Obligations as an Employee

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