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FT reported Remain voters bully Brexit voter at work place

(20 Posts)
topsy777 Sat 13-Aug-16 09:22:07

Google FT Employers at risk of legal action over Brexit harassment for the article and you need a subscription to read.

PwC, the consultancy, is advising four London companies whose pro-Brexit staff have complained of being ostracised as a result of angry social media posts and office discussions about the vote.

Not just on mumsnet...

tiggytape Sat 13-Aug-16 10:22:26

I managed to read it online.

The article outlines cases where people have been upset by comments posted along the lines of: "all those who voted leave are racist" or have been subject to hostility at work - especially in companies where the employer publicly campaigned to remain.

Political beliefs are not covered by the protection from harassment for philosophical beliefs but issues that transcend party politics such as Brexit might be if the person demonstrates their belief is a philosophical one not just a decision they came to for one vote only (other things that have been covered by this in past tribunals have been fox hunting and climate change beliefs).
Some people think this would be hard to prove, others say that proving beliefs has been widely interpreted in the past so could be in these cases too eg views on issues such as sovereignty or immigration could be seen as philosophical and non party-political beliefs.

In one case, a company is already anticipating having to get mediation by Acas as employees can bring claims against their employers if they feel harassed in this way.

The article also highlights hostility going the other way from jubilant leavers (customers in that case not coworkers) verbally attacking staff from other European nations about their right to stay.

Obviously debate is one thing even though generally it is best kept for outside work (but in this case has been sanctioned in a way by so many employers publicly declaring their stance). However sweeping accusations of racism or blatant hostility and bullying are not O.K and, if this is happening in some offices, then it is not surprising that those employees are seeking redress.
but bullying and harassment is not O.K at all

Kaija Sat 13-Aug-16 15:07:37

And how is it possible that these poor Brexiters might be able sue for bullying.

You guessed it, an EU directive.

tiggytape Sat 13-Aug-16 15:16:36

That's very true Kaija - the specific mention of philosophical beliefs is quite new and complies with an EU ruling.
But of course if harassment of any kind has got so unbearable that mediation is sought, it doesn't really matter what prompted the harassment in the first place only that it should not be tolerated in a work environment. Bullying at work to that extent would be wrong for any reason.

mollie123 Sat 13-Aug-16 15:17:43

bullying and harassment for one's beliefs is so wrong anywhere - there is enough of it here on mn, twitter and the dreaded FB - and it could be construed as a 'hate crime' by any definition. The only thing is - never ever disclose your political, religious beliefs outside your home or immediate family shock

mollie123 Sat 13-Aug-16 15:21:02

sorry - should be considered a 'hate incident' rather than a 'hate crime' as it is against a person's belief and no actual crime is taking place. .

Dapplegrey2 Sat 13-Aug-16 15:33:59

"Political beliefs are not covered by the protection from harassment for philosophical beliefs"
Does that mean if a Tory voter attacks a Labour voter or vice versa in the workplace because of how they vote, then there is no redress?

tiggytape Sat 13-Aug-16 15:56:40

The article said that political beliefs aren't covered by this special element of harassment law that prohibits bullying for philosophical beliefs.

However if you found out your coworker had voted Tory and called him a pompous git and sent him endless online abuse, I'm pretty sure it would be covered by other anti-bullying (and communications) legislation.

Dapplegrey2 Sat 13-Aug-16 17:46:28

Thank you for answering my question, Tiggy.
I don't completely understand that harassment for political beliefs isn't covered since as you say anti bullying legisalation could be used instead.

Figmentofmyimagination Sat 13-Aug-16 20:04:01

What is and isn't a philosophical belief is a bit of a moving target. The test is that it is a seriously held belief that significantly impacts on how you lead your daily life and that doesn't denigrate the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

It wasn't meant to include 'political' beliefs when the Act was originally drawn up, but in practice, there isn't really a clear dintinction between the two.

Tribunals have decided in past cases that 'philosophical belief' includes eg a belief in 'the tenets of socialism', 'the values of public service broadcasting', 'the politics of campaigning for climate change' etc.

I'm sure a strongly held view that eg the EU is a supranational organisation would be a philosophical belief. An 'immigrants out' type of leaver would not qualify for protection because their belief would not respect the fundamental rights of others to dignity in a free society.

Dapplegrey2 Sat 13-Aug-16 20:35:00

Figment, that is very interesting.
Do you know what the tribunal is called? I'd be interested to google it.

bkgirl Mon 15-Aug-16 02:44:48

Yep, I guess there will be some manic social media deletions. It got extremely nasty on BOTH sides. That said calling people racist was so offensive and remainers seemed to thrive on it. Ah for the payback.

TheElementsSong Mon 15-Aug-16 07:50:25

That said calling people racist was so offensive and remainers seemed to thrive on it.

Was it more offensive to call people racist than to actually have experienced racism? Was it more or less offensive to say that people reporting racism were making it up, or exaggerating, or even revelling in it, simply because they might have voted differently?

tiggytape Mon 15-Aug-16 08:53:11

Was it more offensive to call people racist than to actually have experienced racism?
Experiencing the kind of racism reported is of course worse than being bullied at work for voting a certain way (although of course some workplace bullying is every bit as bad as racist based bullying). But neither of them are acceptable are they?

On a 'harassment scale' the racist attacks reported are right up there as being very unpleasant and very extreme but that doesn't mean harassment further down the scale is cancelled out in some way.

davos Mon 15-Aug-16 09:02:50

Does it matter which is worse?

Both are wrong.

Do you say sexual assault isn't a big deal because rape is worse?

crossroads3 Mon 15-Aug-16 09:49:56

Of course both are wrong, but are pro-leave newspapers going to report the rise in racism as well as the above cases of workplace bullying?

tiggytape Mon 15-Aug-16 10:04:37

The Telegraph and others are pro Brexit and reported the racist attacks quite fully here for example
The coverage didn't seem to be trying to lessen the Brexit links and concerns and opinions of key remain figures were published.

The workplace bullying story was a new angle that emerged this week so that is why it has had more recent coverage. The fact that workplace bullying is condemned doesn't mean that condemnation of racist attacks is somehow lessened.

TheElementsSong Mon 15-Aug-16 10:20:48

Do you say sexual assault isn't a big deal because rape is worse?

Did I say anywhere that either were acceptable, let alone something as repulsive as this? hmmhmm Of course both are wrong FFS. Workplace bullying is wrong.

More broadly though, do people genuinely consider it equivalent to be nonspecifically accused of racist sympathies (see threads passim) and to have "Polish scum" notes through one's letterbox, or to have abuse shouted directly at oneself while walking down the street, that sort of thing? How do we feel with regards to blithe dismissals of people's accounts of racist abuse as "made up" - is that OK in the grand scheme of things? Or perhaps someone could reassure me that I imagined all those posts on here or, maybe, I made them up?

tiggytape Mon 15-Aug-16 10:55:39

Element I see what you're saying but the workplace bullying has been general ("everyone who voted leave is a racist") but it has also been targeted at individual people. So those who individually who have been singled out at work and bullied to such an extent that mediation services and lawyers are involved. That is not acceptable.

Blithe dismissals of racism feed into the powerlessness and upset that those who suffer racism experience so is of course it is wrong.
However taking the stance that other forms of bulling are not "equivalent" to racism isn't helpful when you yourself say that all bullying and harassment is wrong. There are obviously some people who have experienced harassment at work to such an extent that they have been prompted to act and their individual experience of hostility is horrendous for them even if you think in the wider scheme of things, they'd hate being racially abused more.

TheElementsSong Mon 15-Aug-16 11:38:23

tiggy I think we are in complete agreement. Workplace bullying, whether "general" or "targeted" is just wrong.

It was some other posts that I could not agree with, perhaps because I can't help but remember a certain amount of strategic "absence" in relation to other threads over the past few weeks.

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