All employers in this country are legally obliged to prevent harassment within the work place. However, cases of harassment still occur, and victims are therefore entitled to bring cases against their employers to the Work Place Relations Commission (WRC) where they have the opportunity to prove that this legal protection has not been provided.
WHAT IS HARASSMENT AT WORK?
Harassment is defined as ‘unwanted conduct’, which may relate to any of the following areas under the provisions of the relevant legislation:
- Sexual orientation
- Religious belief
- Civil status
- Family status
- Membership of the Traveller Community
Harassment may take the form of verbal, behavioural or written abuse, and also includes abuse on social media.
HOW TO bring a case FOR HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE
If you believe you are being harassed at work, you should do the following:
- Discuss the situation. If it is possible, you should approach the person whom you believe is harassing you to explain that you find this behaviour unacceptable. If you are unable to do so, for whatever reason, you should speak with your line manager or other person in authority within your workplace.
- Check employer policies. Your employer should have a policy to address harassment in the workplace, which should clearly identify behaviour that is unacceptable and provide a grievance procedure containing clear guidelines. Written policies should be available to employees so that they know where they stand and should set out the way in which complaints can be made. You should follow this process clearly and keep written records of anything that you may consider to be relevant.
- Do not give up. If you have reported harassment and your employer has failed to protect you, you have the right to make a complaint to the WRC within six months of the most recent occurrence of harassment. You are advised to seek advice from an experienced solicitor who will help you to resolve your case.
S.T. O’Sullivan & Co Solicitors, 6, Bindon Street, Ennis, Co.Clare.
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