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For the purposes of the Equality Act (EqA 2010), anything done by an employee in the course of employment is treated as having also been done by the employer (section 109(1)), regardless of whether the employee's acts were done with the employer's knowledge or approval (section 109(3)).
So, an employer can be "vicariously liable" for discrimination or harassment committed by an employee in the course of employment. However, there is a defence available to an employer if it can show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the employee from doing the discriminatory act or from doing anything of that description (section 109(4)).
One reasonable step an employer can take is to ensure they have a robust Equality & Diversity policy, but the existence of a policy in of itself is not enough. In addition, an employer should provide appropriate training for employees to ensure they are aware of, and able to meet, their responsibilities in respect Equality & Diversity, and our online training course provides exactly what an employer needs.
Bullying and harassment give rise to a number of legal issues:
An employer may be liable under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) if it fails to protect its employees and other workers from harassment in the course of their employment. This includes harassment by members of staff and, in some cases, by third parties such as customers, service providers and visitors; The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 may impose liability on an employer for a course of conduct amounting to harassment by an employee; Employers have a number of implied duties in the employment contract, including a duty to provide a safe and suitable working environment, a duty not to destroy mutual trust and confidence, and a duty to provide redress of grievances; and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to provide a safe place and system of work.
As is the position in discrimination cases, an employer can be "vicariously liable" for acts of harassment or bullying committed by an employee in the course of employment.
Stress is a complex workplace issue not only because it is difficult to identify, but also because there is no legislation in the UK specifically dealing with it. The rights and duties of employers and employees in relation to stress derive from a combination of different statutory and common law sources. An employee complaining of work-related stress is likely to consider whether they can bring any of the following claims: Personal Injury, Breach of Contract, Unfair Dismissal, Disability Discrimination, and Harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Stress is a real problem for both organisations and their employees. It accounts for a significant proportion of work related illness each year. Being aware of the signs of stress, some of the triggers and how to manage them can make a real difference to your wellbeing and that of people around you
With an online course from EmployEasily Legal Services, employers can go a long way to ensuring compliance with their legal obligations and their duty of care to their employees.
With full administrative audit trail and automatic certification, our courses allow your team to undertake learning at their own pace.