Discrimination at Work
In the United Kingdom we are fortunate to be protected against discrimination at work. This protection is derived from the Equality Act 2010, which sets out a person’s protected characteristics. If you’re discriminated against at work because of one of these characteristics, then you may be able to raise a grievance or make a claim for compensation.
- Sexual Orientation
- Marriage and Civil Partnership
- Pregnancy and Maternity
Types of Discrimination
Direct discrimination occurs when you are treated unfairly, or less favourably, directly because of who you are. In this your employer would be treating a colleague better than you because of a protected characteristic you possess. In example, if you’re a woman and you are treated less favourably than a male colleague, or if you’re passed over due to your race.
Indirect discrimination is often less clear. Generally, however, it occurs when you are treated the same as another individual but, due to your characteristics, it causes you a disadvantage. This, for example, could be due to a disability where your employer fails to make reasonable adjustments for you.
Workplace Discrimination Examples
These examples are not exhaustive but contain some of the more common instances of workplace discrimination.#
An employer must not pay people differently due to their characteristics. In this, if all else is equal, a man and a woman cannot be paid differently, or individuals or different races.
One example of age discrimination is in the administration of redundancy. Employer’s often fall foul of age discrimination rules when making widespread redundancies. In this it can often be the case that older workers are targeted for redundancy despite their superior performance when compared to younger workers.
If your employer brings in new rules effecting the workplace, which effect some employees more significantly than others, this could be discriminatory. This might be something such as a rule banning employees from wearing religious based clothing.
Family Care Discrimination
If you request flexible working due to child, or family, care needs and you are refused this could constitute discrimination.
When hiring, employers must not exclude, or reject, applications based on their protected characteristics. If an information request, made prior to a job offer, relates to a protected characteristic, and it is not done reasonably or to facilitate positive action, then it could be a cause for action against the employer.
Employers are under the obligation to make reasonable adjustments to the systems and place of work of a disabled employee. This could be physical adjustments to the work place to allow access, or alteration of duties, hours or breaks.
These adjustments must be considered reasonable and practicable. This will depend on factors such as the scale and impact of the changes and the employer’s resources and ability to make the adjustments.
How long do I have to make a claim?
If you believe you’ve been the victim of discrimination at work, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. This is because the time limits to bring action are very short.
An employment tribunal claim must be raised within three months of the discrimination occurring. If the discrimination is ongoing your time limit would start from the end point of discrimination – i.e. if you left your employment.
Prior to bringing an employment tribunal claim you must go through early conciliation through ACAS, this, and the entirety of your discrimination at work issue, is something our team can guide you through.
How can we help?
Our employment law team has a wealth of experience dealing with workplace disputes relating to discrimination from both sides of the argument. This dual sided experience means we are well placed to advise you on whatever issue you have. You can contact us, free of charge, for a no obligation consultation whether you’re in the early stages of a grievance or are looking to take things further.
Who can we help?
Due to the scope of our experience we can help, essentially, anyone. Whether you’re a large or small employer, or an employee, we can assist you with your discrimination at work case.
If your situation relates to one discussed on this page or anything else that could be covered by the Equality Act 2010, we encourage you to contact us so that we can help you fight for your rights.
How do I get in touch?
If you need information or advice on discrimination at work, you can contact us on 01709 363876 or by completing the form on this website. We offer a free, no obligation, consultation so you can get in touch and get the information you need without any risk.
Arthur Jackson & Co Solicitors will only use your information for the purposes of your enquiry.