Whether it is at the recruitment stage, during employment, or at termination, the law protects workers from discrimination. If you feel that you are being discriminated against, for whatever reason, we know how upsetting this can be. Often employees find the behaviour is subtle.

There are various forms of discrimination and it can cover a number of areas including:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

These are called ‘protected characteristics’.

What Is Discrimination?

There are four types of discrimination. These are:

Direct – this is where A treats B less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic.  For example, dismissing them on the grounds of their disability or sex.

Indirect – this is where, whilst the employer’s acts, decisions or policies are not intended to treat anyone less favourably, in practice they have the effect of disadvantaging a group with a protected characteristic.  For example, an employer’s requirement for full-time working could disadvantage women, who are likely to have the greatest childcare responsibilities, and could therefore be indirectly discriminatory. Employers can sometimes defend indirect discrimination. In this example the employer would need justify (as defined by law) the need for a full-time worker.

Harassment – This is where A engages in unwanted conduct (related to a protected characteristic) which has the purpose or effect of violating B’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.  For example, shunning a co-worker because she is gay (or perceived to be gay), or taking part in racist banter that might affect colleagues (regardless of their race).

Victimisation – This is where an employer subjects an employee to a detriment because the employee has done (or might do) things that are called a ‘protected act’. This act can include bringing discrimination claims or complaining about harassment. For example, drafting a bad reference because they had raised a grievance about harassment.

What Next? How Can We Help You?

If you feel that you are being discriminated against by your employer (or even a third party), or that your dismissal was for a discriminatory reason, please get in touch. We can talk to you about what you can do next, how to raise it at work or, if necessary, how to bring a claim Tribunals if necessary. With these types of claims, you don’t have to have been employed for two years and there is no upper limit of compensation. Your employment solicitor can explain to you how compensation is calculated and how negotiations might be entered into to reach an agreed settlement. We act for various clients from Guildford, Godalming, Woking & further afield.

If you are an employer facing a grievance or discrimination claim, please contact us. More information can be found here.

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