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Employment Law

Discrimination at Work

Discrimination at work is illegal, and if you are being treated differently, our employment discrimination lawyers are here to help you. We can support you to challenge it or to make a compensation claim.

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What are the types of discrimination in the workplace?

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for an employer to: discriminate against an employee, job applicant or trainee because of one or more of the following protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race, religion or belief
  • Sex
  • and sexual orientation.


What constitutes discrimination at work?

There are two types of discrimination: direct and indirect.

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When different treatment in the workplace is overt, that is direct discrimination. These are examples of direct discrimination:

  • An employer advertises a job but refuses to recruit a woman.
  • A manager is unpleasant towards a disabled employee because they are unable to perform certain tasks.
  • An employee is not invited to company events due to their sexual orientation.
  • Somebody in the workplace is bullied by their colleagues due to their nationality.

Indirect discrimination is when an employer treats an employee or a group of employees unfairly in a less outward way. This could be due to the policies they have in place.

A company policy that prohibits flexible working hours is an example of indirect discrimination. This policy will have a worse effect on women than men as women are statistically more likely to be managing childcare.

If an employer puts in place a policy that states all employees must work weekend shifts, this could indirectly discriminate against certain groups. Employees with religious needs and those with young children would find it difficult or impossible to comply.

Steps to getting help

The first step is to ask for an informal meeting with your employer or manager. In the meeting, explain what has happened and its effect on you. Say what you want them to do to address the situation. This might be that you would like your employer or manager to talk informally to the person or group of people who are discriminating against you.

In the meeting, the manager or your employer should tell you what they plan to do, and later they should tell you the outcome. At this stage, you have two choices: to accept the outcome or to take matters further and make a formal complaint.

Making a formal complaint involves following your employer’s grievance procedures. If they do not have procedures, then both you and your employer can follow ACAS’s standard procedures. ACAS is the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. They are an independent public body that works to improve workplace relationships between employers and employees.


Talk to Davisons employment law solicitors

If you have suffered discrimination at work, our solicitors can advise you about how the law protects you and explain your options to you. We can help you to make a formal complaint and to negotiate your company’s grievance procedures so your interests are protected.

We offer negotiation and mediation to help you resolve matters with your employer as quickly and amicably as possible. When a solution cannot be reached, we will use the law to stop discrimination and claim compensation for your financial and personal losses. If you feel you must resign, we have many years of experience supporting clients to make claims for constructive dismissal.

Have any questions or need any help?

Our team of specialist lawyers are experts in their field. Be confident in their advice and decisions to help get the right outcome for you. Contact us today to see how we can help