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Annie Hayes



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HR Tip: Victimisation


These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.

Q: What exactly is victimisation in the workplace? Is it illegal?

A: It certainly is unlawful. Victimisation is recognised in law as a manifestation of race or sex discrimination. If you, a white manager, told your white recruitment officer not to employ any black people and that, if they did, they would not get a pay increase, the officer could claim race discrimination against you. However any form of victimisation would be construed as bullying and an employee could take legal action against you, for example by leaving and claiming constructive dismissal.

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2 Responses

  1. Victimisation Reply
    The definition quoted by your correspondent is included in all
    discrimination legislation to ensure that retaliatory acts are brought into
    scope. However, as he indicates, these cases are rare.

    The first example I gave would constitute a breach of the Race Relations Act
    1976 s2(1).

    Many people however feel victimised for reasons far wider than the narrow
    ones defined in statutes. This is a worrying aspect of employment life
    because it causes great distress to the individuals and considerable levels
    of absenteeism for employers.

    Employers need to be aware that victims can leave and sue for constructive
    dismissal and/or remain in employment and sue both the employer and the
    victimiser for damages. The employer might be held to be in breach of its
    common law duty of care towards its employees, and in breach of the Health
    and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 s2.



  2. Victimisation
    This is pathetic.
    It is muddled and shows no grasp whatsoever of the subject of victimisation.
    Under the Sex Discrimination Act the definition of victimisation is less favourable treatment because he or she has brought proceddings or given evidence in proceedings against the discriminator. Ibelieve the Americans call it retaliation which gives a better feel for the nature of the act than the sort of definition given in the tip which belongs to the shop steward’s instinctive response “Its victimisation” as a substitute for thought. Most of the cases, and there are at least two House of Lords cases, are about damaging references. there are not many cases because it is relatively obscure but a very important feature of anti discrimination which is now present in all ther anti-discrimation laws.

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Annie Hayes


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