Discrimination: do you have a claim?

Discrimination is unfair or unfavourable treatment of an individual or group based on certain characteristics. Discrimination is unlawful where unfair or unfavourable treatment is because of a person protected characteristic; these characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

There are several types of discrimination.

Direct discrimination is where a person treats another person less favourably, because of their protected characteristic than they would treat someone without that protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination is where an act, decision or policy is applied to all employees but has the effect of disadvantaging people with a particular protected characteristic.

Harassment is where a person engages in unwanted conduct with another person related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of either violating that said person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that said person.

Victimisation occurs where a person (A) subjects another person (B) to a detriment because either B has done a protected act or A believes that B has done or may do a protected Act. Protected acts include bringing discrimination claims, complaining about harassment or becoming involved in another employee’s discrimination complaint.

With regards to discrimination in the workplace, the following categories of individuals are protected: Employees and applicants, contract workers, the police, partners, LLP members, barristers, advocates, office holders, professional or trade qualifications, vocational training and employment agencies, trade organisations and local authority members.

If you have been discriminated against either directly, indirectly or harassed due to a protected characteristic, or you feel you have been victimised, then you may be able to make a claim.

If your claim is successful at an Employment Tribunal you will most likely be awarded damages. The compensation in discrimination claims is an “injury to feeling” award; and the size of this award depends upon the seriousness of the discrimination and the effect it has on the individual concerned. In some circumstances, if the discrimination has led to your dismissal, then you may also be able to claim for loss of earnings.

You have 3 months from the date the final act of discrimination took place to make your claim.

For more information on discrimination claims and the potential value of these check out our Discrimination FAQS or our dedicated Discrimination page.

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