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Workplace Discrimination

Have you been affected?

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The experts in workplace discrimination claims

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd has a dedicated team of leading Employment law solicitors and support staff, helping clients nationwide.

We are able to offer expert advice on all potential claims you may have against your employer, in both Employment Tribunals and the Civil Courts. We work to maximise your damages whilst keeping all costs to a minimum.

What is workplace discrimination?

Discrimination in the workplace is when you are being treated unfairly at work because of who you are. This could include your gender, sexuality or religion and it could be from any employee include managers and colleagues.

But laws are in place to protect employees from discrimination at work under the Equality Act 2010. If you believe you have been discriminated against due to one of the protected characteristics you may be entitled to make a claim.

According to ACAS, the definition of workplace discrimination is when you have been subjected to less favourable treatment at work directly because of a protected characteristic.

Workplace Discrimination

Protected characteristics

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of the following protected characteristics.

If an employee or employer is proved to have discriminated against you because of one of the characteristics there can be serious consequences.

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnerships
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex

What does workplace discrimination look like?

Discrimination in the workplace is not necessarily obvious. Please see below the different forms of discrimination which may present themselves in the workplace:

  • Direct Discrimination – Treating a person less favourably because of one or more Protected Characteristics.
  • Indirect Discrimination – There may be a workplace provision, criterion, or practice (PCP) which is not intended to be discriminatory but which has the effect of disadvantaging employees with a particular Protected Characteristic. For example, a policy that unfair disadvantages a group of employees with one of the Protected Characteristics.
  • Harassment – Harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwanted conduct relating to one or more Protected Characteristic which has the purpose or effect of either violating the employee’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for the employee.
  • Victimisation – Victimisation means being ‘punished’ for reporting something at work that you believe is unfair such as being discriminated against.

Are you being discriminated against?

If you believe that you are being treated unfairly at work because of one of the above protected characteristics, you may have a discrimination claim.

Please contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd as soon as possible to speak to one of our employment advisors.

Workplace Discrimination

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I deal with workplace discrimination?

Employees are expected to raise a grievance in order to resolve a work related dispute before going to tribunal and if they do not then any compensation awarded may be reduced by 25%, for failure to follow the ACAS code on Disciplinaries and Grievances (click here to check out the ACAS code.)

Employees should follow the grievance procedure in their Staff Handbook. If you do not have a Staff Handbook, why not take a look at our guidance on raising a Grievance in the workplace by clicking here.

Please keep in mind that there are strict time limits to pursue claims in the Employment Tribunal. Please read below for more information on time limits.

I have raised a grievance and in doing so, matters have become worse at work. What can I do now?

Many claims of victimisation arise as a result of a grievance being raised.  An employer may be resentful about the fact that you raised a formal complaint which may result in you being subjected to victimisation.

If you are being victimised for raising a grievance in relation to the way you are being treated at work, please contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd to see if we can help.

How do I prove discrimination in the workplace?

To prove that you have been discriminated at work can be tricky, but collecting any evidence that you might have can be beneficial.

Evidence can be your own account of what happened, witness accounts as well as any documents that show that you have been subjected to discrimination.

Try to gather as much evidence as possible, and keep a record of when it happened and what type of discrimination you think it was, who subjected you to this treatment and the date.

Also, print out or screen shot any evidence you have online, such as threatening social media messages or e-mails.

You should also make sure your employer has done everything they’re supposed to do. To do this, get copies of your contract and any internal policies on things like bullying or equal opportunities.

When it comes to witnesses, you should ask if they saw or heard what happened, and it backs up your complaint you should ask if they’re happy for you to give their name when you complain.

However, you don’t have to have witnesses and your own evidence can be enough.

The team at Oakwood Solicitors can assist you in obtaining the evidence you need to make a successful claim.

Would I need to resign to make my claim?

It is not necessary to resign from your job to make a claim for discrimination. It is one of the rare claims that can be bought whilst you remain employed.

However, If you feel like you have no option but to resign, you may have a claim for Constructive Dismissal. Click here to find out more about Constructive Dismissal.

I think I am being discriminated against. What should I do now?

If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of a protected characteristic, why not get in touch today as we do not charge for initial enquiries.

Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

Do I have to have suffer repeatedly in order to have a discrimination claim?

The answer is no – just one instance would be enough to make a claim. For example, you could be denied your previous position (or a similar role) for no reason other than you recently returned from maternity leave.

Can ACAS help?

ACAS is an independent body that deals with issues in the workplace. They offer free, expert advice relating to good business practice and employment law and offer their services to both employees and employers in the hope of resolving disputes fairly.

Employees are required to contact ACAS before submitting a tribunal claim in order to create an opportunity for employer and employee to resolve matters informally before going to tribunal.

How long have I got to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal?

Generally an employee must start ACAS Early Conciliation within three months less a day from the incident or decision that they wish to complain to their employer about, even if a grievance or grievance appeal process is still ongoing.

If an employee does not start ACAS Early Conciliation within that time period then they may be prevented from bringing a claim against their employer before an Employment Tribunal.

It is important that you seek legal advice as soon as you are able to ensure that you do not inadvertently pass the time frame in which you have to bring a claim before an Employment Tribunal.

Even if you do not wish to pursue your claim in an Employment Tribunal, there could be other legal remedies available. Please contact Oakwood Solicitors for further advice.

How much compensation could I get?

The amount of compensation you can get will depend on the circumstances.

Some of things considered include the following:

  • Any money you’ve lost because of the discrimination – this is called financial loss and covers loss up to when you’re likely to get a new job if you’ve lost your job
  • Hurt or distress you’ve suffered because of the discrimination – this is called ‘injury to feelings’
  • A personal injury, such as depression or a physical injury, caused by the discrimination
  • Particularly bad behaviour by your employer – this is called ‘aggravated damages’

If you are claiming for ‘injury to feelings’, you might need to involve further evidence such as if you saw a GP about the impact of discrimination on you, or ask family and friends about how you were affected.

The minimum award for injury to feelings should be around £1,000. The most severe cases, where there has been on-going discrimination for a long period of time can be up to £56,200.

Why should I choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?

If you have been subjected to workplace discrimination, you should not have to deal with this alone. Why not contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd today to see if we can navigate you through this difficult time.

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of Employment law.

Extremely Helpful

I highly recommend Oakwood Solicitors. I will definitely use their services again should the need arise. Thank you!

- Ana C

Professionalism complemented by personal care

The professionalism and personal care from Oakwood has meant a lot during a difficult time so I have no hesitation in recommending them.

- David George


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