Oakwood Solicitors

Public Discrimination

Are you eligible to make a claim?

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    of specialist experience
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  • No upfront cost
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  • Just under £1 million recovered
    for clients in the last 12 months
  • Free initial consultation

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The Experts in Discrimination Claims

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source.

Can I make a claim for discrimination?

If you believe that you have been treated differently because of one (or more) of the protected characteristics listed above, then you may be able to make a claim against the company or organisation in question.

How do I make a claim?

Before deciding on whether making a claim is the best option for you, it’s important to seek some initial legal advice. Here at Oakwood Solicitors we offer a free assessment and would be happy to discuss with you whether we thought there were merits to a possible action.

If you agree to proceed forward with a claim, then our team will be happy to explain the process in further detail with you.

How long do I have to make a claim?

There are strict time limits for taking a case to Court.

You need to make your claim within six months of the act you’re complaining about. The Court can allow a claim outside the time limits but such expectations are not often or easily made.

For example, if you were discriminated against on 13 January, you need to start the process by 12 July.

If your deadline falls at the weekend or on a bank holiday, it’s best to take action on the last working day before the deadline so that you can be sure that your claim is made in time.

Time limits for civil discrimination claims are different to those in the Employment Tribunal where if you want to make a claim about discrimination at work, the time limit is only 3 months.

If you do intend to pursue a case in the County Court, it is always advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible so that your legal representative has sufficient time to prepare your case for litigation ahead of the six month deadline.

How much is my claim worth?

If you are successful with a claim for civil discrimination and you choose to pursue a claim for financial compensation, you might be able to get compensation for:

  • any financial loss suffered because of the discrimination;
  • the emotional impact of the discrimination – this is legally termed an ‘injury to feelings’ award;
  • any personal injury suffered as a result of the discrimination – claims for psychiatric injury arising from the stress and upset of the discriminatory behaviour are most common.
Frequently Asked Questions

What is public discrimination?

Whilst most people are aware that you can take an employer to the Employment Tribunal for discrimination, fewer people are aware that you can also take any company to the County Court if they have been discriminated against in the provision of a service.

This means that, for example, if you are a customer in a shop, you have a right not to be discriminated against and if you do receive such treatment, you have the right to take forward a civil claim against that shop.

What types of discrimination are there?

To be able to consider taking forward a claim under the Equality Act, you must first show that you have a ‘protected characteristic’ under the Act. The protected characteristics under the Equality Act are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

Discrimination can be either direct or indirect.

Direct discrimination is where you are treated less favourably than other because of a protected characteristic. For example, being refused the sale of goods in a shop specifically because of you religious beliefs would be direct discrimination.

Indirect discrimination is where a company or organisation has in place rules or procedures which apply to everyone but of which apply an unfair disadvantage to someone who has a protected characteristic. For example, a shop allows customers in employment to pay for goods in instalments but those not in work are not offered the same payment scheme. This is likely to affect older customers who are retired and would therefore be indirectly discriminatory towards someone on the basis of their age.

If the discriminatory conduct is severe, you may also have a claim for harassment.

Victimisation is another type of claim under civil discrimination which covers where, for example, you may be refused a service because you have complained about previous discriminatory treatment towards you.

What types of treatment can be classed as discrimination?

If you are refused service by a company or organisation because of a protected characteristic, then this would be deemed to be potentially discriminatory conduct towards you.

Another example would be where you are using the services of a company but when they find out your protected characteristic, they refuse to continue to allow you to use their service.

Do I need to complain directly first?

Whilst it is not necessary to have made a complaint directly to the company or organisation before seeking legal advice, it is a good option to consider as doing so may enable you to reach a resolution without the need for litigation.
Litigation can be a stressful and lengthy process so where you have an opportunity to resolve the issue without the need to involve the Court system then we would recommend considering doing so.
The government has produced guidance on asking and responding to questions about discrimination in the provision of goods and services and public functions. The guidance also covers discrimination in housing and education.
The guidance sets out 6 steps you should follow to prepare for and seek information from the person or organisation you think may have discriminated against you. These are:

  1. Set out your details and the details of the person or organisation you think discriminated against you;
  2. Identify the reason you’ve been discriminated against, i.e. which of the protected characteristics (or perhaps more than 1) is connected to the unfair treatment you have experienced;
  3. Describe the unfair treatment – ask the person or organisation if they agree with your account of what happened and if not, why not;
  4. If you can, identify the type of discrimination you’ve experienced – for example, direct discrimination, in direct discrimination or harassment etc;
  5. Try to explain why you think your treatment was unlawful – set out what the person or organisation did or said which makes their behaviour unlawful under the Equality Act;
  6. Set out any additional questions you would like answering to gather information – for example, statistical information or if they have any policies about equality and discrimination.

How would be my case be funded?

There can be a number of ways to fund your legal fees. Subject to individual assessment, the most common method to fund a claim of this nature is by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement which is often referred to as a No Win No Fee Agreement.

This means that if the claim is unsuccessful then you will not have to pay us anything towards our costs, subject to compliance with the terms and conditions of the agreement in place.

If we are able to help, we can explain this further to you and also other ways to fund your claim if a ‘No-Win, No-Fee’ option is not suitable for you.

What should you do if you think you have a claim?

If you believe or feel you have a claim contact us for a free initial consultation regarding your options.

Jessica Rowson
Jessica Rowson - Director and Head of Psychiatric Injury

Jessica Rowson started as a Paralegal at Oakwood Solicitors in July 2010, qualifying as a Solicitor in September 2013. Following her qualifying as a Solicitor, Jessica established a niche department dealing primarily with Stress at Work claims.

She was promoted to Assistant Head of Department in 2014 and took over as Head of Department in 2016, where she broadened the scope of the department to cover a wider range of claims focused on Psychiatric Injury.

In December 2017, Jessica was promoted to Director following over seven years of service and dedication to the firm.



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