Victimisation is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 (the “Act”). It is often confused with claims of bullying or harassment but it is different and has a specific legal definition.
Victimisation occurs when someone subjects you to a detriment, or unfair treatment, because it is believed that you have done, or may do, a “protected act” which relates to one or more of the protected characteristics:
- Gender Reassignment.
- Marriage and Civil Partnership.
- Pregnancy and Maternity.
- Religion or belief.
- Sexual Orientation.
A protected act can be:
- bringing proceedings under the Act (for example, submitting a Tribunal claim in relation to discrimination);
- giving evidence or information in connection with proceedings under the Act (for example, giving a witness statement or assisting a colleague);
- doing any other thing for the purposes of or in connection with the Act; or
- making an allegation (whether or not express) that someone has contravened the Act (for example, complaining of discrimination by way of a grievance).
Unfair treatment can cover a wide range of conduct. It can include being ostracised by your colleagues, bullied, disciplined, passed over for promotion, denied training opportunities or even dismissed from your job. It is important to be able to show a sufficient link between the protected act and the unfair treatment received.
Broadly if you have brought a complaint of discrimination, or supported someone with their complaint of discrimination, and you are treated unfairly as a result of this, you may have a claim for victimisation.
However, you are not protected from victimisation if your complaint is made, or the information is given, in bad faith.
There is no continuous service requirement to bring a claim for victimisation and the level of compensation you may be awarded by a Tribunal is uncapped so can be substantial.