Discrimination at Work
Discrimination at Work
Discrimination at work on the basis of your sex; race; disability; sexual orientation; age or religion is unlawful. Furthermore, if you have been dismissed on any of these grounds, including pregnancy, you can make a claim for unfair dismissal, even if you have less then one years service.
Here we are able to provide you with everything that you need to know about discrimination in the workplace. This will help you decide whether or not you have a case against your employer and if you do we are here to help. Click here to find out more
In this section we will cover:
- What is Discrimination
- Types of Discrimination
- Forms of Discrimination
- Bullying in the Workplace
If you believe that you have suffered discrimination at work, please call us on 0800 014 8727 to discuss your case, or alternatively, fill out the simple form opposite and we will call you back at a time convenient to you. There is no obligation to commit. We understand that these processes can be stressful and daunting, but we are here to make that process easier for you and give you the advice that you deserve.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination legislation covers job applicants and workers. Furthermore, an employer will be liable for any discriminatory act which it or any of its employees commits, as long as they are in the course of their employment when committing the discriminatory act.
Discrimination in the workplace can either be direct or indirect. Direct discrimination at work occurs when an employee is treated less favourably on the grounds of their sex/pregnancy/maternity, race, disability, sexual orientation, age or religion. Indirect discrimination at work occurs when an employer applies a policy or work condition which, by its nature, puts certain groups of people in the workplace at a disadvantage.
Laws exist in the workplace to ensure that everyone is treated equally. Obviously, people are paid depending on their level of skill and status, and this is not considered to be discrimination. However discrimination at work can exist for the following reasons:
- Marriage or Civil Partnership
- Race, Nationality and Ethnicity
If a man is being paid more than a woman to do a job of the same status and skill, this is considered to be discriminatory. Equally, if a woman becomes pregnant and is then not given the same opportunities as her fellow male employees she may have a claim for discrimination.
It does not matter whether or not you work part time of if you are on a fixed term contract, or indeed if you have been employed for less that 12 months. It is against the law to discriminate in the workplace under most circumstances.
Types of discrimination
As briefly covered above there are several reasons for discrimination at work. Below are the main reasons and brief examples of this.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against people on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity and nationality.
So for instance, if you are dismissed from your position because of your accent or if you are overlooked promotion because of race, this is considered to be racial discrimination.
There are certain situations where it may be the case that a job requires a specific person:
So for instance acting or modelling, but also if the job requires a certain amount of authenticity, and a certain race is required, for instance in the catering industry.
However in most cases all employers must give all races that same terms in their work contracts and give them the same opportunities in terms of training, promotion, etc.
Sexual discrimination in the workplace mainly affects women, but can also effect men. Under the Equality Act 2010, any form of sexual harassment is considered unlawful. It has many forms, all of which can be considered a form of harassment and therefore discrimination. These can include:
- inappropriate comments;
- lecherous behaviour and;
- unwanted physical contact.
So for instance if a female work colleague is made fun of or humiliated at an office party because she is wearing a short evening dress, this can be considered sexual harassment.
In companies with more that 20 employees it is illegal to discriminate at work on the basis of disability. There are certain situations where an employer is able discriminate, for instance, if the job is considered unsuitable or dangerous for a candidate with a disability. However, under the Equality Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments to the working environment so as not to exclude people with disabilities.
All employees should be given equal rights. They should be given the same opportunities regardless of age, sex, race, religion or disability. There are certain situations or jobs where it may be the case that the employer needs a certain type of person, so for instance in the modelling or acting industry. But in most cases everyone should be given equal opportunities.
It would be unlawful for instance to pay a man more than a woman for doing the same job, with the same status and skill set.
Your sexuality bares no relation to how well you can do your job. The Equality Act 2010 protects you from sexual orientation discrimination. It means that you are not allowed to be directly or indirectly discriminated against, harassed or victimised, because of your sexual orientation. Even if assumptions are made, founded or not, about someone’s sexuality and their ability to do their job because of it, this is considered unlawful. The act also protects those who are victimised or harassed for having associations with people of a certain sexual orientation.
Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate because of a persons age, whether you are considered to be too young or too old.
The new rules mean that an employer cannot:
- Dismiss you because of your age;
- Refuse to employ you because of your age;
- Treat you unfairly because of your age;
- Refuse to pay you your redundancy pay;
- Stop you from getting certain benefits because of your age.
An example of age discrimination would be if an employer dismissed a woman from her job and replaced her with someone of equal ability, but much younger.
In the same way that racial discrimination is unlawful the same applies to religious discrimination. You cannot be discriminated against because of you religious views. There are certain situations where it is acceptable:
For instance if a school requires a Muslim religious teacher, they may restrict applicants to those of the Muslim faith.
Forms of discrimination
Direct discrimination at work is when a company treats some employees directly less favourably than another employee of the same skill and status. So for instance if a haulage firm only allowed male drivers for their vehicles, this would be considered direct discrimination.
There are some circumstances where a job may require a certain type of person, in which case this is not considered discrimination in the workplace, but a necessity for the job.
Indirect discrimination at work may occur when a situation or condition or rule at work makes it more favourable to a certain type of employee.
In some cases it may be that a rule is in place for a genuine reason and therefore would not be considered indirect discrimination.
Any sort of harassment at work or workplace is considered unlawful. Harassment can include, sexual harassment, racial harassment, intimidation, offensive behaviour or humiliation.
An example of this could be if sexually explicit material is sent around the office and causes offense to an employee.
Victimisation can come about if an employee has made complaint or tried to complain about a certain situation or person, which is then ignored and they are then treated less favourably because of this. So this may include being segregated from other workers, not included in office events or having action taken against you because of the complaint.
Have you suffered discrimination at work?
Call us now
If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace and need specialist advice, please call us on 0800 014 8727 to discuss your case, or alternatively, fill out the simple form and we will call you back at a time convenient to you.