Discrimination, Bullying and Maternity Issues

Unlike unfair dismissal, you do not need to have worked for your employer for any requisite length of time to be protected under discrimination legislation. If you, therefore, feel that you have been discriminated against, we would encourage you to contact us on 01928 560022 for a confidential consultation and we will be happy to assess your situation and to advise you about whether or not you may have a claim for discrimination.

Discrimination means unfair or unfavourable treatment which is in some way related to a personal characteristic. Often it may not feel like the discrimination can be proven as discrimination can take the form of bullying, ostracism at work, snide comments, differential treatment and even banter which is inappropriate and which causes you offence. It can be unlawful if the action above is to do with one of the following ‘protected’ characteristics:

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

There are different types of discrimination:

  • direct discrimination
  • harassment
  • indirect discrimination
  • victimisation
  • reasonable adjustments
  • discrimination arising from disability.

Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated worse than other people because of one of the protected personal characteristics listed above. For example, if an Asian employee is not selected for promotion because of their race, this is direct race discrimination.

Harassment can also be a form of discrimination if it is related to one of those characteristics. Harassment can include verbal abuse, suggestive remarks and unwanted physical contact.

Indirect discrimination occurs where a particular employee is disadvantaged by a policy or requirement which is not justifiable in terms of the work. The disadvantage must be linked to one of the ‘protected’ characteristics. For example, if the employer only gives training to full-time workers, this would indirectly discriminate against women, as more women than men are part-time workers.

You may also be discriminated against if you are victimised because you have tried to complain or take action about discrimination.

Your employers have a duty to remove the barriers you face because of your disability so you can do your job and apply for jobs in the same way as someone who is not disabled. This is called the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

If you are disabled, your employer could also discriminate against you if you are treated unfairly because of something arising from your disability rather than the disability itself.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against at work, you can make a complaint or raise a grievance and attempt to negotiate to try the resolve the issue. Alternatively, you can make a claim to an employment tribunal if there are grounds to show that the unfavourable treatment you are experiencing is on the grounds of a particular protected characteristic.

There is a strict time limit for making a tribunal claim and this is usually three months minus one day from the date when the incident you are complaining about last happened. It is very important for you to seek legal advice if you feel that you have been discriminated against on any of the grounds as listed above.

Our solicitors are specialists in the area of discrimination and we are happy to provide a consultation to assess whether you have been discriminated against. Call us on 01928 560022 today as we are on hand to support you through your situation at work.