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The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination in the workplace and wider society. We advise on all areas of discrimination, specialising in complex Employment Tribunal proceedings and advising upon best practice in the workplace to ensure compliance with employment law.
What is discrimination?
There are a number of different stands to discrimination however each makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the grounds of a protected characteristic.
The protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010 are as follows:
Marriage and civil partnership
Pregnancy and maternity
Religion or belief
Types of discrimination:
There are generally four types of discrimination:
Direct – where the employee is treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic;
Indirect – when a rule/policy puts an employee at a disadvantage compared to colleagues because of the protected characteristic and cannot be objectively justified;
Harassment – is unwanted conduct linked to a protected characteristic which has the effect of violating dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment;
Victimisation – where the employee is subjected to detrimental treatment as a result of doing a “protected act”. An example of a “protected act” may be raising grievance concerns about discriminatory conduct.
Disability discrimination has two additional elements which are:
Discrimination arising from a disability – when there is unfavourable treatment because of a reason connected to the disability – often this is where there is a dismissal for disability related absence;
Failure to make reasonable adjustments – where a rule/policy or physical feature at work puts an employee at a disadvantage because of their disability an employer is obliged to make a reasonable adjustment to remove the disadvantage.
In addition to loss of earnings calculated in the same manner as an unfair dismissal claim a successful discrimination claim may also provide the following remedies:
Injury to feelings award – this will be assessed based upon the seriousness of the employers conduct and the impact it has had on the employee. There are three bands ranging from £600 to £30,000, although the £30,000 can be exceeded in exceptional circumstances.
Declaration – a Tribunal may make a declaration that you have been discriminated against; and
Recommendation – the Tribunal may be required to implement certain changes in the workplace such as training or put adjustments in place.
The time limits for claims for discrimination claims, are similar to those for unfair dismissal save that the employee will have a period of only 3 months from the act of discrimination complained about. This may not be a dismissal and as such there may be a need to commence Employment Tribunal proceedings whilst still employed.
Employees - please click below if you believe you have been discriminated against and we would be happy to contact you to discuss further:
Employers - if you are facing the prospect of facing a claim of discrimination or require advice on discrimination issues within the workplace please click on the link below and we will contact you to discuss further:Employer free assessment form