Protection from Harassment Act 1997


Protection from Harassment Act 1997

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 is a piece of United Kingdom law, which among other things creates a legal right against stalkers, and consistent bullying in the workplace.

The Act defines harassment in section 1(1) as a "course of conduct" amounting to harassment and provides by section 7(3) that a course of conduct must involve conduct on at least two occasions. If these requirements are satisfied, the claimant may pursue a civil remedy for damages for anxiety: section 3(2). The requirement of a course of conduct shows that Parliament was conscious that it might not be in the public interest to allow the law to be set in motion for one boorish incident.

Under this act the definition of harassment is behavior which causes alarm or distress. The Act provides for a jail sentence of up to six months or a fine. There are also a variety of civil remedies that can be used including awarding of damages, and restraining orders backed by the power of arrest.

Employers have vicarious liability for harassment by their employees under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, (see Majrowski Case link below). For employees this may provide an easier route to compensation than claims based on discrimination legislation or personal injury claims for stress at work, as the elements of harassment are likely to be easier to prove, the statutory defence is not available to the employer, and it may be easier to establish a claim for compensation. Also as the claim can be made in the County Court costs are recoverable and legal aid is available.

In Scotland the Act works slightly differently:

* A jail term of up to five years in very serious cases can be imposed.
* Civil remedies include damages, interdict and non-harassment orders backed by powers of arrest.

ee also

*Harassment (UK)
*UK employment discrimination law

External links

* [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1997/97040--a.htm Protection From Harassment Act 1997 (full text)]
* [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldjudgmt/jd060712/majro-1.htm#1 Majrowski v Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust]
* [http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2006/1898.html&query=Green+Deutsche+Bank&method=all Green v DB Group Services (UK) Ltd. (2006) EWHC 1898 (QB) (01 August 2006)]
* [http://www.nfh.org.uk/resources/Articles/harassment/index.php Neighbours From Hell in Britain: Harassment from your Neighbour]
* [http://www.legalferret.net Weaver v. NATHFE - Race Discrimination Case]


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