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Discrimination or Bullying at WorkMake an Enquiry
Discrimination or Bullying at Work
All employees are protected by law from being discriminated against in the workplace. Discrimination occurs if you are treated less favourably to colleagues because of who you are or what you believe. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on 9 different grounds, known as ‘protected characteristics’. These are;
- Sexual Orientation
- Marital status
- Transitioning / being a transsexual person
- Being a parent or pregnant
No one protected characteristic has a higher priority than any of the others listed. It is also illegal to victimise anyone who has complained of discrimination or has supported someone in a complaint for discrimination.
If you believe you have been treated poorly by your employer because of one of the listed characteristics then you may have grounds for pursuing a claim for Discrimination.
We understand that experiencing any form of discrimination in the work place can be difficult and upsetting. If you would like to speak to us about your situation then please contact one of our specialist Solicitors to discuss the legal options available to you. This includes bringing a No Win, No Fee claim for compensation.
All conversations are strictly confidential.
Discrimination can potentially occur in many different ways. The Equality Act 2010 identifies 4 categories of discrimination;
Direct Discrimination occurs when somebody is treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic (e.g age, race, sex. Please see above for the full list).
This can occur if, for example, promotion or training is withheld because of that characteristic or if poorer employment terms and conditions are offered. It also applies to dismissals and offers of employment.
If you are concerned that you are experiencing, or have experienced, direct discrimination of any kind then please contact us on xxxxxxx to discuss your situation with one of our specialist Solicitors.
This type of discrimination takes place when a provision, criteria or practice places those with one of the nine protected characteristics (see above) at a disadvantage to others, and this cannot be justified.
By way of example, a company may be seeking to offer promotions to those with over ten years’ experience in the profession. An employee with 5 years’ experience may be just as qualified and capable of performing the role. Unless the employer can legally justify why 10 years’ experience is required for the role, they may be indirectly discriminating on grounds of age (a protected characteristic) as younger candidates are less likely to have the specified experience. (Source – ACAS)
This is defined as any ‘unwanted conduct’ due to a protected characteristic (race, disability, religion etc). It will include things such as;
- Bullying and threats
- Nicknames and insults
- Jokes or ‘banter’
- Unwanted physical contact
- Ignoring or excluding employees from meetings & events
- Asking inappropriate questions
Verbal, written and physical conduct can all potentially amount to harassment.
In addition to ensuring that harassment does not take place by or to an employee, the employer must also ensure that reasonable steps are taken to prevent harassment to an employee by a third party, such as a client, customer or contractor. If such harassment is ignored, or inadequately addressed, then the employer may be held liable.
Victimisation will occur if somebody is treated badly at work because they have made a complaint or supported somebody else in a complaint.
We understand that experiencing any form of discrimination in the work place can be difficult and upsetting. If you would like to speak to us about your situation and to discuss the options you have available, then please contact us for free and confidential advice.
If you succeed with a discrimination claim before an Employment Tribunal, you will be awarded compensation for;
- Any money you have lost because of the discrimination
- Injury to feelings and/or distress caused by the discrimination (up to £42,900)
- Any personal injury caused by the discrimination, such as stress or depression.
- Aggravated damages if your employer acted in a malicious or insulting manner
- Interest on the above
There is no limit on the overall level of compensation an Employment Tribunal can award. Compensation for injury to feelings can be up to £42,900 in the most serious of cases.
For further information on how much your claim may be worth, please contact us for advice.
There are only rare occasions where discrimination may be considered to be lawful. This may apply if a job has a certain occupational requirement. This may be true for official appointments within a religious place of Worship, for example, or by employing someone of a certain gender to play a specific character in a film or play.
It is important to realise that such exceptions are limited. It is not enough for an employer to simply prefer to employ someone with a certain protected characteristic. There must be a crucial reason behind this.
If an employer, or prospective employer, is giving reasons for what you believe to be discrimination then it is important to seek legal advice. We would be happy to discuss your situation in greater depth if this is an issue that affects you.
Employees who feel they have been subjected to discrimination in the workplace, or who have experienced such discrimination should feel confident in raising the matter with a manager or supervisor.
An employer should have procedures in place to promote equality and prevent discrimination, and all employees should be made aware what is acceptable and what is expected of them. If a grievance is raised, the employer should take appropriate steps to investigate this and meet with the employee to discuss their grievance.
The employee who raised the grievance should be kept informed of the progress and outcome of any investigation, and should be given the opportunity to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the outcome.
If you have raised a grievance due to discrimination and you are dissatisfied with the way this has been handled or the outcome reached, then you may have grounds for bringing a claim before an Employment Tribunal. This is something we can offer you advice and potential assistance with. Please contact us for more information on how we can help.
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- Over 17 years’ experience in work based claims
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