Discrimination in the workplace
What is discrimination in the workplace?
Discrimination in the workplace is defined as the different treatment of an employee on the basis of one of their personal characteristics.
In law, all employees are entitled to be treated equally at work. If you have been treated differently because of one or more of your personal characteristics (called ‘protected characteristics’ and outlined below), or if you are an employer who has been accused of discrimination, Aly & Hulme Associates employment lawyers can help. We have extensive experience assisting both employees and employers in all manner of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters, including workplace discrimination.
What are the ‘protected characteristics’ under employment law?
Protected characteristics are listed in the Equality Act 2010 and are as follows:
Protection against discrimination on the basis of these characteristics extends to your family members – what this means is that you cannot be treated differently if, for instance, a family member is disabled.
Your employment status is also a protected characteristic – your employer cannot treat you differently because you are part-time or work flexibly, for instance.
What is workplace discrimination?
In most cases, discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employee is treated differently based on a protected personal characteristic or trait. Different treatment includes things like allowing the observance of one religious practice and not another, or to only have childless people working in certain roles. An extreme example is only allowing people of a particular ethnicity to enjoy certain roles or responsibilities
Discrimination of this type is known as ‘direct discrimination’. There are also three other types of discrimination:
How can I make a discrimination claim?
If you, as an employee believe you have been discriminated against because of, or in relation to, a protected characteristic and you can’t resolve the issue with their employer, you can make a discrimination claim in an employment tribunal. A claim can be made against the co-workers you hold responsible as well as your employer.
In respect of discrimination claims made in an employment tribunal, your employer does not have to have been involved in the alleged discriminatory act – they are automatically held accountable for the illegal acts of their staff’ illegal, provided these acts happen in the occurs of the staff’s employment. This is known as ‘vicarious liability’ i.e. the employer is ‘vicariously liable’ for the acts of their staff member.
The employer can only escape liability if they are able to demonstrate that they took all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination in their workplace. These steps can include things such as having equality policies and procedures in place and providing diversity & equality training.
What is the time limit for making a discrimination claim?
Importantly, discrimination claims are subject to deadlines. You only have three months since the most recent act of discrimination to act. Which means you should contact Aly & Hulme Associates as quickly as you can.
What evidence is needed to make a discrimination claim?
You must support your discrimination claim discrimination with evidence. This is usually in the form of a statement detailing your allegations of discrimination, witness statements from your colleagues or other people who can vouch that the discrimination occurred and any other documentary evidence such as letters or e-mails.
Cases of discrimination in the workplace are rarely straightforward. Any story has at least two of sides and the chances of your success hinge on the consistency, believability and reliability of your evidence. Not just that, but how the claim is argued in the tribunal can make an enormous difference. It is therefore of vital importance to get specialist employment law advice from when making or defending against a discrimination claim.
Why Choose Aly & Hulme Associates?
Modern life is hectic. We know you’re busy. we know your hours are often awkward and we know you have enough on your plate. That’s why our founding principle is to help you deal with your legal needs quickly, efficiently and effectively.
We specialise in dispute resolution and whilst both partners have appeared in Court on thousands of occasions we will strive hard to avoid litigation wherever possible to provide you with a robust and cost-effective service.
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