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Harassment – you cannot be harassed if you were not aware of the conduct in question

In the recent case of Greasley-Adams v Royal Mail Group Limited the claimant attempted to argue that he had suffered harassment by reason of conduct which he was not aware of at the time it occurred. He only became aware of the conduct when it was revealed as part of a bullying & harassment investigation against him. 

The Employment tribunal dismissed his harassment claim. The EAT agreed with the tribunal and held that these incidents could not have violated the claimant’s dignity before the time at which he became aware of them. It also held that when he did become aware of them as part of the investigation into his alleged bullying, it was not reasonable for them to be considered as having violated his dignity. 

This case confirms that harassment under the Equality Act 2010 takes place when the complainant becomes aware of the unwanted conduct, rather than when the conduct occurs.