A lot workers experience unpleasant treatment at work at the hands of their managers and fellow colleagues at some time during their working career. Sometimes this activity deeply affects individuals and it can become a huge problem for their health – contact us and we’ll talk through your options and give you some guidance on the types of claims you can bring.
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Bullying is never right, whether it’s in a playground, online or bullying at work. Michael Lewin Solicitors are leading lawyers in education, internet and workplace bullying and harassment claims. We are Members of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel and are able to offer expert advice on all potential claims you may have against your employer, in both the Employment Tribunal and Civil Courts. We will conduct an initial assessment of your claim for free and act for the vast majority of our clients under the terms of a no win, no fee agreement. Call us now on 0113 200 9787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a claim. Alternatively, click here to make a claim.
If you have suffered a recognised psychiatric injury as a result of a stress related illness e.g. bullying and harassment at work, you could have a potential claim in both the Civil Courts and the Employment Tribunal against your employer.
This is a complex area of law and it is therefore important that you choose a legal representative with right expertise for bullying and harassment claims. Here at Michael Lewin Solicitors, we have a dedicated team of legal experts waiting to help you.
Both Bullying and Harassment in the workplace can take a number of forms both direct and indirect, some examples are:
- Violence or threats of violence;
- Inappropriate touching or comments of a sexual nature (see our Sexual
- Harassment page for more information)
- Being sworn at repeatedly;
- Being publicly humiliated or ridiculed;
- Being treated less favourably;
- Being ignored;
- Being placed on unwarranted disciplinary or being subjected to conduct designed to force an employee to resign;
- Being subjected to conduct designed to cause alarm or distress
- Having personal property deliberately damaged;
- Being subjected to unrealistic deadlines or being ‘set up to fail’
This isn’t an exhaustive list and at Michael Lewin Solicitors we understand that bullying and harassment in the workplace can take many more forms.
We also understand that an individual’s cases of bullying at work or harassment may appear trivial in isolation but that it is the cumulative affect which is important to consider.
There is generally no liability for workplace bullying and harassment in the Employment Tribunal unless either:
- The bullying and harassment is discriminatory contrary to the Equality Act 2010. You would have to prove that the conduct you have been subjected to is due to a ‘protected characteristic’ such as, for instance, sex, race or disability.
- Workplace bullying and harassment amounts to a fundamental breach of your Employment Contract thereby giving rise to a claim for Constructive Dismissal.
As Michael Lewin Solicitors are experts in bullying and harassment in the workplace compensation claims. We are able to advise you about all potential claims you may have in both the Civil Courts and the Employment Tribunal.
For this reason we recommend that you get in touch with us in the first instance for a free, no obligation and confidential chat about your circumstances – we can then advice you on your best course of action.
If you are successful in pursuing a workplace bullying and harassment claim in the Civil Courts then you may be able to recover damages for:
- Personal Injuries (often referred to as General Damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity)
- Loss of Earnings – to include both past and future losses
- Loss of Bonus or Commissions
- Treatment Costs such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
- Pension Loss
- Care and Assistance
- Loss of Opportunity of obtaining a future Employment (often referred to as a Smith v Manchester award)
- The increased cost of utilities (gas, electric etc) during any periods of absence from work
We use the best quality medical experts to ensure that we maximise the compensation you deserve. Many claims we pursue are pleaded at in excess of £100,000.
No Win No Fee
For bullying and harassment in the workplace we act for most clients under the terms of a no win, no fee agreement (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement) together with After the Event insurance.
Bullying and Harassment at Work: The Law
Generally there is no liability for ‘bullying and harassment’ in the Employment Tribunal unless the conduct amounts to discrimination.
There is often the mistaken perception that bullying or harassment is automatically discrimination when in reality there are important legal distinctions.
A bullying at work claim is primarily a civil claim although an individual may be entitled to pursue the action as a discrimination claim if the acts complained of were as a result of a protected characteristic.
Insofar as civil liability is concerned there are two ‘levels’ of bullying and harassment.
Protection from Harassment Act 1997
If the bullying and harassment is of sufficient severity whereby the actions may sustain criminal liability then a Claimant may be able to pursue a claim under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
There are some advantages to a potential Claimant of being able to pursue a harassment claim under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 specifically:
- It is not necessary to prove that the cause of a psychiatric injury was foreseeable. Foreseeability is often a contentious issue in Stress at Work claims and therefore overcoming this issue is a significant advantage;
- Claims under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 are subject to a six year limitation period rather than the usual three year limitation period which applies to most personal injury claims;
- Damages are recoverable even if the Injury falls short of a ‘recognised psychiatric disorder’ and damages can be awarded for alarm or distress alone.
Whether or not the conduct complained of amounts to harassment contrary to the Act is normally a highly contentious issue and Defendants will often allege that in order to establish liability under the Act it is necessary to prove that the conduct was sufficiently serious to also create criminal liability.
In Green v DB Group Services UK Limited (2006) IRLR 764 the Court of Appeal developed a four stage test for assessing harassment:
- The course of conduct was directed at the Claimant;
- The harassment occurred on at least two occasions;
- The conduct was calculated in an objective sense to cause alarm or distress;
- The conduct was oppressive and unreasonable.
Common Law Bullying and Harassment in the workplace
If the severity of the conduct is not sufficiently serious to warrant liability under the Act then a claim has a fallback position in that liability may still be established in common law (for instance negligence).
Again the case of Green v DB Group Services provided guidance in this regard:
- Did the conduct complained of amount to bullying and harassment in the ordinary connotation of those terms?
- Did those involved in the victimisation or bullying know, or ought they have reasonably known that their conduct might cause the Claimant harm?
- Did the managers and/or members of the HR Department know or ought they reasonably to have known that the Claimant was being subjected to the conduct complained of?
- Did they know, or ought they have reasonably to have known, that such conduct might cause psychiatric injury?
- Could they, by the exercise of reasonable care, have taken steps which would have avoided such injury?
Irrespective of whether the claim is brought under the Act or in common law, it is important to review the totality of the events rather than the events in isolation. Witness evidence is often crucial to claims of this nature
Michael Lewin Solicitors are experts in this area of law and will contact witnesses at the outset to ensure supportive evidence is obtained at the earliest stage thereby maximising your prospects of success. We will also collate all other available information and evidence to support your bullying and harassment claim.
Contact us for expert help and advice
Hopefully we have demonstrated that the legal team at Michael Lewin are experts in Bullying and Harassment claims and will fight harder than any other law form on your behalf.