Workplace Harassment: Advice Searches Up by 21% in 2022

Searches for terms around ‘workplace harassment’ increased by 21% in 20221, while TikTok views on relevant content have reached a whopping 18 million2, highlighting just how many of us are looking into the topic and may be experiencing harassment.

The issue hasn’t gone unnoticed however, as 2022 saw the beginning of processes to amend the current Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill 2022-23 to help ensure employers are doing all within their power to protect employees. The changes have yet to be confirmed by the UK government.

Here at First4Lawyers, we have also seen a 114% increase in workplace harassment claims in 2022 compared to the previous year3.

So how can you be better informed about workplace harassment and the support available to you should you experience the issue?

Jacqueline Busby, First4Lawyers head of claims and legal expert, sheds light on the meaning of workplace harassment, signs it may be happening to you and expert advice for handling the situation.

Jacqueline comments: “It’s important for employees to know that the law is on their side when it comes to workplace harassment, however, many are unaware of the support available to them. Hopefully these tips will help workers understand their rights and feel more confident about taking legal action should they need to.”

What is workplace harassment?

Harassment is defined as “unacceptable behaviour by one or more individuals that can take many different forms, some of which may be more easily identifiable than others.”4

It can be carried out by anyone within the workplace, whether that’s one or more managers, workers, service users or members of the public who have the intention or effect of violating a worker’s dignity, affecting their health and/or creating a hostile work environment.

5 signs of workplace harassment

  1. Repeated behaviour or a one-off incident
  2. Destroying of property
  3. Isolating another worker
  4. Spreading rumours
  5. Making remarks about a person’s body
  6. Persistent sexual comments

What should you do if you’re experiencing workplace harassment?

Jacqueline explains: “If you’re dealing with workplace harassment it’s difficult to know what help is available to you and the best steps for handling the situation. It can be an incredibly difficult and stressful time, so the most important thing is not to deal with it on your own. Take advice from friends and family in the initial stages, and attempt to address the issue with your manager as a first step.

“According to CIPD findings, 40% of employees shared that they have been harassed or bullied at work. Many may opt to speak to their manager for support, however, 34% of those surveyed also claimed that their manager was responsible or lacked the confidence to challenge the behaviour, leaving workers without a reliable solution.” 5

“When you’re in this situation it might be time to consider legal action. If this is the route you want to take, Citizen Advice suggests taking legal action against your employer, and not the individual person.

“This is to prevent communication with the individual as much as possible, as doing so can add further stress and upset on the victim of harassment. If you take legal action against the employer however, you’ll likely only deal with a HR representative and this can be much less upsetting.”

Jacqueline adds: “It is possible to make a workplace harassment claim if you have experienced unwanted behaviour that causes you distress. It could be related to certain protected characteristics, including age, gender, race, sexual orientation or religion. You could find that you’re being treated unfairly or being denied equal opportunities to your colleagues.

“Your employer has an obligation to protect its employees. This does not just cover your physical health – they should also prevent any form of harassment as part of this obligation. If they don’t, they could be liable for any harm caused.

“Employers that facilitate or allow harassment often rely on this behaviour being kept quiet. But with the rise of social media comes opportunities for highlighting what you may have been through. As well as giving you a platform to discuss your own situation, you can learn about what others have been through. This could help you work out whether you have been the victim or workplace harassment.”


  1. KWFinder Information true as of 10/01/2023
  2. TikTok views for hashtag #workplaceharassment and #workplaceharrassment. Information true as of 10/01/2023
  3. Based on First4Lawyers internal claims data for workplace harassment in 2022
  4. HSE



It seems you are using an outdated browser.

This will impair your browsing experience around the web. Please visit one of the links below to update to a modern browser then re-open the site with the new browser.

Thank you


Can't find what you are looking for?

We are open as normal during the Coronavirus lockdown and are able to help with all your legal needs.

Call us free of charge

0800 567 7866

Request a Callback

Continue browsing