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Understanding Discrimination Law

Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms.  It can be extremely stressful and challenging to raise a complaint with your employer or through the courts and so having a lawyer whose experience and judgement you can trust is critical.   The law protects you against discrimination or harassment on various “protected characteristics” including for example, race, sex, disability, age, religion or belief, pregnancy or maternity, and sexual orientation.

Whether you believe that you have been treated badly or suffered harassment simply because you have one of the protected characteristics or because your employer’s working arrangements are inherently discriminatory, we can offer you support, help you understand your rights and the actions you can take to get the discrimination to stop.

Why You Need a Discrimination Lawyer

Our experienced lawyers offer you reassurance that you are in safe hands whatever the outcome you are seeking.   They can help you with the following:

  • Expertise and advice on raising discrimination grievances or pursuing a claim in tribunal
  • Assessing the merits of your claim and the compensation to which you may be entitled
  • Helping you navigate the complex legal systems and the time limits for claims
  • Preparing the documents to support your grievance or claim and developing the right strategy
  • Providing you with robust representation in court

Our lawyers will support you through the processes and have had great success at achieving good outcomes in terms of compensation and resolution of complaints.

Common Challenges in Discrimination

Proving that discrimination has occurred is not always easy and so our lawyers will guide you on the evidence you need, how you can best meet the obstacles head on and give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome.   Having good legal support if you decide to raise a complaint can make the difference between success and failure and can help to alleviate some of the emotional stress that discrimination claim inevitably cause.  It is also critical to be able to recognise the risk of and deal with any potential retaliation by those accused.

Contact Us

If you need assistance with raising a discrimination grievance or tribunal claim, please get in contact with our discrimination law specialists

An exceptional balance of expertise and personality.”

Legal 500

Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination refers to the prejudicial treatment of different categories of people.  In the workplace, there are nine categories of people who are legally protected (these categories are referred to as the ‘protected characteristics’).  The protected characteristics are age; sex; race; religion or belief; sexual orientation; disability; pregnancy and maternity; marriage and civil partnership; and gender reassignment.

The four main types of discrimination are:

  • Direct – this seeks to protected someone who is treated less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic
  • Indirect – this applies where a provision, criteria or practice of the employer applies to all but actually more negatively impacts those with a protected characteristic
  • Harassment – generally speaking, this applies where someone engages in unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic which has the purpose of effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating a intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them
  • Victimisation – this seeks to protect individuals from a detriment who are being targeted because they have done (or may do) a protected act, such as bringing a discrimination claim.

The law sets out nine ‘protected characteristics’ which are legally recognised categories on which discrimination may be based.  These are: age; sex; race; religion or belief; sexual orientation; disability; pregnancy and maternity; marriage and civil partnership; and gender reassignment.

Neurodiversity is an umbrella term referring to natural variations in brain function which may affect mental functions.

Employers are, under certain circumstances, under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled job applicants and employees (including former employees).

The type of adjustment will depend on the circumstances but may include adjustments to premises, duties and terms of employment (such as working hours, place of work), policies and procedures (such as absence management and redundancy procedures), providing information in more accessible formats and providing additional support including mentoring, supervision or equipment.  It is generally a good place to start to discuss the matter with the employee to see what they need.

How to make an adjustment will depend on what it is.  For example it may be that a contract variation letter is required or that physical changes are needed to the premises.   Once made it’s important to consider whether anyone needs to be told about the adjustments (such as a supervisor) to ensure they are given effect.

If you have a protected characteristic and you think that you have been treated unfavourably or harassed because of that characteristic, then you may have a legitimate complaint.

This all depends on what support you need.  An initial call may be all it takes to confirm whether or not you have a good case.  If you do, then before you commit to spending anything, we can provide you with details of the costs you might incur at each stage of your case.  This may depend on the willingness of the other party to engage in settlement discussions.

Again, this very much depends on the complexity of your claim and the number of witnesses required.  On average a discrimination claim might take 12-18 months to get to a final hearing.

Key contacts

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

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