In order to have a claim for workplace discrimination compensation, you must show that you have been treated less favourably than others because of a ‘protected characteristic’. There are nine protected characteristics:
Direct discrimination is where a person is subjected to less favourable treatment, when compared to others, because of a protected characteristic. Examples of direct discrimination can include inappropriate comments or remarks, but relates to any form of treatment which is less favourable because of a protected characteristic.
Indirect discrimination can be more subtle and, under s.19 of the Equality Act 2010, is the implementation by an employer of a provision, criterion or practice which is discriminatory in relation to a person’s relevant protected characteristic. This may include certain policies or procedures implemented by employers which, whilst not deliberately discriminatory, are indirectly discriminatory if certain employees with a certain protected characteristics are disadvantaged as a result.
Harassment under s.26 of the Equality Act 2010, is where a person pursues a course of unwanted conduct against another person because of a protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating that person’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.
Claims under the Equality Act 2010 have very short time limits and, ordinarily, any claim must be registered under the Early Conciliation scheme with ACAS within three months (less one day) of the earliest act of discrimination, otherwise the claim may be out of time. As with many types of claim, it is important to collate evidence at an early stage, and to ensure that you put your claim forward in a robust manner to maximise the possibility of early settlement.