Harassment includes behaviour,by one or more persons that is intimidating :
Harassment may include bullying, name calling, making offensive comments or insinuations about the religion or beliefs of another, avoiding sitting or working near to an individual so that they are made to feel unwanted and isolated, excluding an individual from particular activities, speaking to an individual in a way that is demeaning or mocking and so on.
Harassment may be deliberate or may not be intended to be malicious, but is nevertheless hurtful. It may be about the individual’s religion or belief or it may be about the religion or belief of the family, friends or other associates of the individual.
Harassment may not be specifically targeted at an individual but may be the result of behaviour, which creates a particular environment or culture. A culture that, for example, tolerates the telling of religious jokes, the use of offensive slang in respect of different religions or beliefs or mocks practices associated with particular religions or beliefs may be intimidating or hostile.
Harassment is often subjective and an employer investigating a complaint of harassment will need to fully consider all of the circumstances, including the views and feelings of the person making the complaint. Having gathered all of the evidence they will then have to decide whether what has happened could reasonable be considered to have caused offence.
Case Study 1
Mr A is a Muslim. A number of his fellow workers regularly make mocking and offensive remarks about the time he spends in the bathroom and the small container of water he sometimes is seen to take to the bathroom with him. After a particularly inappropriate comment, Mr A complains to his manager.
Mr A is being harassed on the grounds of his religion.
Case Study 2Mr B is a Rastafarian. On a number of occasions Mr B’s manager has suggested to him that he should ‘get his hair cut’ and ‘smarten himself up’. He frequently speaks to him in a way that is dismissive.
Mr B is being harassed on the grounds of his religion.
Case Study 3Mrs C is married to a Jew. She is continually being teased about her partners religious convictions. She finds this hurtful and distressing.
This is harassment on the grounds of religion or belief, even though it is not Mrs C’s own religion or belief that is the subject of teasing.