Workplace Discrimination Claims

Colleagues telling each other off
We are not currently offering Employment advice services. The following is for informational purposes only.

CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication – mohamed mahmoud hassan

If you’re discriminated against at work it can be pretty distressing. Equally, if you’re a business accused of discrimination against staff, it can damage your reputation, spark bad press and change public perceptions of your company. We hope to provide some clarity on the different types of discrimination in workplaces and how to take legal action against discrimination.

What Is Direct Discrimination?

Firstly, it’s important to understand that there are different types of discrimination. 

Direct discrimination often targets an individual in the workplace. Direct discrimination is where an employer discriminates against an employee if it treats that employee less favourably than it treats, or would treat, another person in the same or similar circumstances, and the reason for less favourable treatment is a protected characteristic.

A straightforward example of direct discrimination might be that a suitably qualified woman would have been promoted if she had been a man.

What Is Indirect Discrimination?

Indirect discrimination occurs when a rule or a policy (otherwise known as a provision, criteria or practice or “PCP”) applies to everybody equally, but disadvantages one group with a particular protected characteristic more than others.

One example of this would be the refusal by the employer to allow any part-time work. This policy may be applied to everybody equally, but it would disadvantage women as a group more than men because statistically more women have childcare responsibilities. 

Aside from direct and indirect discrimination, people may also face or be accused of harassment or victimisation. For more information, read our article on the different types of workplace discrimination.

Who Can Bring A Claim For Discrimination?

Claims for discrimination can be brought by:

  • Job applicants can claim if they are turned down for a position by reason of a protected characteristic.
  • Current employees can claim against a prospective employer for acts of discrimination faced within the workplace
  • Ex-employees and ex-workers can also claim against their ex-employers in some circumstances.

That being said, it’s a good idea to check that unlawful discrimination has taken place, according to the Equality Act, before bringing a claim for discrimination. Remember, it’s only unlawful discrimination if someone is being treated unfairly because they belong to a particular group that has protected characteristics. These characteristics include:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Religion or belief
  • Disability
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave

It must also be noted that, under the Equality Act, not all types of unfair treatment and behaviour are deemed unlawful discrimination. In particular, there is specific guidance on age discrimination. Therefore, it’s worth noting that discrimination claims can vary depending on why you’re being treated unfairly, who is treating you unfairly, as well as any other guidance and legislation. 

How Can I Defend A Tribunal Claim Against My Company?

If an employee brings a Tribunal claim against your company (or you as an individual), you can file a defence through the Employment Tribunal. It’s worth noting that tribunal claims are complex and can often prove time-consuming and costly. For this reason, it’s wise to seek the services of a specialist Discrimination Lawyer who can guide you through this litigation process and represent you at Tribunal hearings.

We’re Here To Help

If you’re dealing with any other aspect of the law, Cartwright King’s specialist lawyers can help. Our experts can offer advice and guidance on a wide range of legal issues, from immigration law and criminal defence to financial crime and health and welfare cases. No matter what your legal issue is, it’s sensible to seek the services of Cartwright King’s experienced solicitors. They will offer reliable, up-to-date legal advice and support you throughout your case, ensuring that you’re represented fairly, respectfully and without judgement.

Having an experienced lawyer in your corner ensures that your legal rights are fully protected. Cartwright King is recognised for its professionalism and reliability by Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. You can trust us to put your best interests first throughout your case. We listen, we understand and we care about achieving the right outcome for you. Get in touch now to speak to our dedicated team.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.