Dealing with verbal harassment
Spoken words, banter, social media posts, jokes and pranks can all constitute harassment – a form of discrimination – if they relate to your autism.
Broadly speaking, such actions will constitute harassment if:
- they were carried out for the purpose of violating your dignity and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment for you; or
- the effect of these actions was to violate your dignity or create a hostile, intimidating, degrading or humiliating environment for you.
For the purposes of the law, if you can prove the former you will not need to prove that it was reasonable for you to have felt offended or harassed by your colleague’s actions. Whether or not your reaction was a reasonable one will not be considered
If, however, you cannot prove that the unwanted conduct was intended violate your dignity or create a hostile environment, a tribunal will need to consider all of the factors of the case. These factors include your personal circumstances, the circumstances in which the offensive action took place, what the intentions of the offending party were and whether the employer has taken any steps to deal with and improve the situation.