Is it lawful for an employer to dismiss a complaint of harassment or bullying from an employee who is thought to be "over-sensitive"?
When deciding whether or not conduct amounts to unlawful harassment, a tribunal will take into account the perception of the person making the complaint and whether or not it is reasonable for the conduct to have the effect of violating their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. In other words, the tribunal will consider how the employee reacted to the conduct and whether or not the employee's reaction was reasonable in the circumstances. An employer that dismisses a complaint of harassment or bullying on the grounds that the employee is thought to be "over-sensitive" could be liable for a harassment claim. It should ensure that it has investigated the circumstances of the complaint fully before deciding not to take any action.
It is the responsibility of the employer to make all employees aware of reporting procedures for alleged harassment or bullying and to follow a fair procedure in dealing with such complaints. Failure to provide an adequate grievance procedure could itself gives grounds for a claim against the employer.