An employee can bring a civil claim for harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 even if the court considers it unlikely that a prosecutor would prosecute, provided the conduct can theoretically sustain criminal liability.

A "substantially reasonable and usually robust" employee suffered clinical depression as a result of being picked on, publicly rebuked and humiliated in front of her colleagues over a period of two months. The Court felt this self-evidently crossed the line into oppressive and unacceptable conduct (rather than just unattractive, unreasonable or regrettable conduct) and was sufficient to establish criminal liability. The finding that a prosecutor might be reluctant to prosecute such a case was irrelevant. (Veakins v Kier Islington Ltd, CA)