Rise in UK employers citing “banter” as a defence to harassment claims
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Bullying or banter?

“Banter” is increasingly being invoked in UK employment disputes as a justification for alleged discrimination and harassment, according to new research.

The number of employment tribunal claims relating to banter in the workplace saw a 45% increase, from 67 in 2020 to 97 in 2021, figures unearthed by GQ|Littler show.

In 2016, just three cases contained banter as a defence, increasing significantly to 51 in 2017 and 50 in 2018. A further rise to 87 claims was seen in 2019, followed by a dip in 2020 before this year’s record figure.