Discrimination law is designed to ensure equality of opportunity at work, protect employees’ dignity and ensure that complaints can be raised without fear of reprisal.
Under the Equality Act, employees (and job applicants) are protected from being discriminated against on the following grounds (described under the act as protected characteristics):
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
If you believe you have been discriminated against, our specialist employment team is here to help. Whether it is to help pursue the matter with your employer or, if that avenue has been exhausted, to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal our team offers an expert, sympathetic approach. Over the years, we have successfully acted for many employees subjected to discrimination, finding the resolution (including financial compensation) that they deserved.
There are a number of types of discrimination that can occur in the workplace and which are unlawful under the Equality Act, including:
- Direct discrimination – where an employee is treated less favorably to others because of one of the protected characteristics set out above;
- Indirect discrimination – where some form of policy or provision is applied by the employer, which puts employees sharing a protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage;
- Harassment – where an employee is subjected to conduct, related to a protected characteristic, which violates their dignity or creates a hostile or degrading environment for them; and
- Victimisation – where an employee is subjected to a detriment for having raised concerns regarding discrimination.
Regrettably, some of the most common cases we see involve discrimination of new parents. The legislation provides a variety of rights to support pregnant employees and new parents, including time off for antenatal appointments, maternity leave/pay and shared parental leave, which our team would be happy to talk you through. The legislation also makes it unlawful for an employer to treat an employee unfavourably because of her pregnancy or because she is on maternity leave. If you have been the victim of discrimination because of pregnancy or maternity we are here to help.