Discrimination is a breach of the Equality Act 2010 to discriminate against anyone because of the following “protected characteristics” they have:
b. Being or becoming a transsexual person;
c. Being married or in a civil partnership;
d. Being pregnant or on maternity leave;
g. Religion, belief or lack of religion or belief;
h. Sex; or
i. Sexual orientation.
Discrimination in the UK workplace
In the UK workplace you are protected from discrimination if you possess a protected characteristic; if you are associated with someone who possess one (for example, a family member or friend); or if you have complained about discrimination or supported someone else’s claim, the Equality Act 2010 protects against discrimination at work in the following areas of work life:
a. Employment terms and conditions;
b. Pay and benefits;
c. Promotion and transfer opportunities;
d. Recruitment; and
Types of discrimination
There are various types of unlawful discrimination which apply to most, and in some cases, all of the protected characteristics. These are direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments for disability, discrimination arising from a disability, harassment and victimisation.
What can I do about discrimination?
When deciding what action to take, you will need to think about what you are trying to achieve. You may want discrimination against you to stop or an apology from your employer; to be reinstated or re-engaged; your employer to look again at a decision they have already taken; a change in your employer’s policies; staff training in discrimination issues; or compensation for financial loss for injury to feelings or stress. It is often best to try to resolve your problem informally first.
Complaining to your Employer
You can try talk to your employer first and sort out the problem informally by making a complaint. If this cannot be done, talk to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), Citizens Advice or a trade union representative before taking action about discrimination. Alternatively, you can try negotiating with your employer to resolve your problem. In some situations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission may be able to help with your discrimination complaint. They do not normally take on individually cases. However, they can do so if it would be of wider public interest and it is referred to them by an advice agency.
Reaching an agreement via mediation
If you want to try to resolve your problem by mediation you will need your employer to agree to it. Mediation can be particularly useful early on in a dispute to avoid things escalating, but it may not always be suitable for you. It depends on your discrimination problem and what it is you want to achieve.
Reaching a binding settlement via conciliation
Before making a claim to the employment tribunal, you must inform the ACAS that you intend to make a claim to the tribunal. You will be offered the chance to try and settle the dispute without going to court by using ACAS’s free ‘Early Conciliation’ service.
Bringing a claim in to Employment Tribunal
You may be able to take a claim to the employment tribunal if you think your employer someone has discriminated against you unlawfully. You must make a claim to the employment tribunal within 3 months of ending your employment ending or the problem happening.
If your claim for discrimination is successful, the employment tribunal can order your employer to pay you compensation if you have suffered financial loss or injury to feelings, including stress.
If such an action is necessary, you may qualify for legal aid to help your legal costs or seek advice from Civil Legal Advice if you are eligible.
If you have experienced discrimination, you can seek help from the Equality Advisory Support Service or ACAS, who works with both employers and employees to solve workplace problems.
If you need to get further advice regarding Discrimination, you can speak to a Solicitor online on Talk2Solicitors.co.uk to get the legal advice that you need.