An employee (of a further or higher education institution) is personally responsible for their own acts of discrimination, harassment or victimisation carried out during their employment, whether or not the employer is also liable.
A lecturer racially discriminates against a student. The college is able to show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the harassment and therefore was not liable. The student can still make a claim of discrimination against the lecturer.
If the relationship is one of a person paying for someone else to take action for them and someone taking action for them (their ‘agent’) rather than employer and employee, the agent is personally responsible in the same circumstances.
Employees or agents will still be responsible for their acts of discrimination, harassment or victimisation even if they did not know their actions were against the law.
But there is an exception to this. An employee or agent will not be responsible if their employer or principal has told them that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing and he or she reasonably believes this to be true.
It is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine of up to £5,000, for an employer or principal to make a false statement in order to try to get an employee or agent to carry out an unlawful act.