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What are the different types of workplace discrimination?

Workplace discrimination is when someone with a protected characteristic is treated in a detrimental way.

It is widely known that it is unlawful to be discriminatory in the workplace. However, it is not so clear what discrimination means in terms of Employment Law.

In this article, our employment experts are going to explain the various aspects of workplace discrimination.

What characteristics are protected against discrimination?

Protected characteristics are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. This means it is unlawful to discriminate against a person in the workplace for any of the following reasons:

  • Sex
  • Marital or Civil Partnership
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy and Maternity

Many people believe that unfair treatment at work automatically constitutes discrimination. However, this is not always the case.

What are the Types of Discrimination at Work?

Direct Discrimination – This is arguably the most straightforward type of discrimination. This occurs when an employer or individual treats a person less favourably than they treat or would treat others because of one or more of the protected characteristics.

Indirect Discrimination – This comes from practices and policies that do not directly discriminate against a particular group of people, but instead (indirectly) have the effect of disadvantaging them.

Indirect discrimination arises where a practice or policy puts the employee at a disadvantage with people who do not share their protected characteristic or where this can’t be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Harassment at Work – The definition in employment law is different from the general idea of what harassment is. As with the other types of workplace discrimination explained above,  harassment also needs to relate to a protected characteristic.

Someone is said to have harassed another person is they ‘engage in unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic with the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the individual’.

Victimisation – This occurs when someone suffers from poor treatment because they have done a protected act or they are believed to have done a protected act or may do in the future.

Examples of protected acts include making a complaint about discriminatory treatment to your employer, giving evidence in the Tribunal or pursuing a discrimination claim.

It is one of the lesser-known forms of discrimination.

How we can help?

Cartwright King’s employment experts provide sound legal advice and sure guidance in discrimination claims.

If you’re discriminated against, Cartwright King will make sure your voice is heard and your legal rights are respected and if you’re accused of discrimination, we can help defend your reputation.

Find out more about how we can help at https://cartwrightking.co.uk/employment-law/discrimination-claims/

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.