Harassment

Refers to conduct which causes ‘alarm and distress’.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was introduced initially to deal with ‘stalkers’.

Section 3 of the Act has introduced a statutory tort which entitles victims of harassment to compensation.

Section 1 of the Act states that it is an offence for a person to pursue a course of conduct which harasses, and which the person knows or ought to know amounts to harassment.

Although harassment is not defined in the Act it refers to conduct which causes ‘alarm and distress’. Conduct can include words written or spoken.

The tort requires a 'course of conduct' so there must be two or more occurrences.

For people who suffer bullying or other forms of abuse at work this has now developed in the contect of employer's liability and their responsibility to protect their employees in the workplace Green v DB Group Services (UK) Ltd. (2006).

For a claim of harassment to suceed it needs to be possible to show that the course of conduct is of a serious enough nature to cause distress. Ferguson v British Gas Trading Ltd (2009).

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