Discrimination at work can take place in many forms. Discrimination in the workplace is usually unlawful if the reason for the discrimination is one of the following 9 protected characteristics:
- Gender Reassignment.
- Marriage and Civil Partnership.
- Pregnancy and Maternity.
- Religion or belief.
- Sexual Orientation.
Discrimination in the workplace can be very complex and it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you have not been provided with equal rights or have faced restrictions we can advise you on your legal rights and guide you on making a legal challenge.
Your employer is obliged to ensure there are procedures in place to prevent discrimination at work, and should deal with any complaints that arise.
There are different forms of discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 sets out four main types of discrimination:
- Direct Discrimination: This is discrimination against an employee because of one or more of the protected characteristics named above.
- Indirect Discrimination: This is where a policy or practice in the workplace causes a considerably smaller proportion of those with a protected characteristic to be unable to comply with the policy or practice than those who do not have the protected characteristic or who have a different protected characteristic.
- Victimisation: This is where an employee is treated less favourably because they have or might: complain about discrimination, make a Tribunal claim against their employer about discrimination, or support someone else’s complaint about discrimination.
- Harassment: This is when an individual is subjected to unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct related to a protected characteristic which violates his or her dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It can include behaviour that individuals find offensive even if it’s not directed at them, and even if they do not have the relevant protected characteristic themselves.
There are other forms of direct discrimination:
- Discrimination by Association: This is a form of direct discrimination where an employee is discriminated against because of a protected characteristic of someone he or she is associated with. For example, an employee being discriminated against because of his or her child’s disability.
- Discrimination by Perception: This is a form of direct discrimination where an employee is discriminated against because he or she is perceived to have a protected characteristic.
No minimum length of continuous employment is necessary for a discrimination claim to be made to an employment tribunal. Protection starts from when a role is advertised through to the last day of employment and beyond to include references.