Discrimination & Equality Lawyers

All job applicants, employees, workers and contractors are protected against discrimination. Our employment lawyers advise both individuals and business.

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Discrimination & Equality

All applicants, employees, workers and contractors are protected against discrimination at work. Discrimination can happen at any time in the employment relationship, including the initial stages of recruitment. 

The Equality Act identifies nine protected characteristics which are: 

  • age
  • disability
  • race
  • sex
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • religion or belief 
  • sexual orientation

 Our team of specialist employment lawyers have extensive experience with assisting employers with discrimination claims and can assist and support you with defending a discrimination claim.

Discrimination Claims
Employment Disputes
Equal Pay & Gender Pay Gap
Pregnancy and Maternity
Protected Beliefs

Discrimination Claims

In the UK, individuals are protected against a variety of different types of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. The different types of discrimination are:

  • Direct Discrimination
  • Indirect Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation
  • Discrimination Arising from Disability
  • Associative Discrimination
  • Perceptive Discrimination

The protected characteristics:

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

Discrimination Services

Employment Disputes

Whether it is advice on a grievance, being involved in a disciplinary or capability process, long term sickness absence, performance improvement plan, adjustment to the workplace or working practices, warnings or even the termination of your employment, we can advise and support you throughout.

Our team of employment lawyers have significant experience in advising on workplace disputes and can provide you with practical and pragmatic advice to help and support you with resolving any dispute that you have either as an employee or an employer.

  • Disciplinary & Grievances
  • Employment Rights
  • Employment Tribunals & Unfair Dismissals
  • Performance Management
  • Religous Beliefs
  • Sickness Absence

Employment Disputes

Equal & Gender Pay Gaps

Under Equal Pay legislation, the starting point is that every employee has the right to equal pay for ‘equal’ work in the same employment. Equal pay relates specifically to men and women in the same employment, performing equal work being entitled to equal pay unless a pay difference can be justified.

The right to equal pay applies to employees, workers (including agency workers), on full-time, part-time, or temporary contracts, apprentices and, in some limited cases, even self-employed contractors. 

Contractual provisions for equal pay will be implied into an employment contract where an employee and their comparator of the opposite sex are employed to do equal work, which could be:

  • like work – work that involves similar tasks, knowledge and skills
  • work rated as equivalent – work that is graded as equivalent under a job evaluation scheme
  • work of equal value – work that is different but equal in terms of demands such as effort, skill and decision-making.

From a legal perspective, there are two critical elements to consider for employers when they’re looking at salaries and pay equality across their organisation. The first is their risk for a claim under Equal Pay legislation and the second is their Gender Pay Gap data.

  • Equal Pay
  • Gender Pay Gap

Equal & Gender Pay Services & FAQs

Pregnancy and Maternity

While on maternity leave, you have the following rights and protections that are relevant to this situation:

  • The right not to be unfairly dismissed, or dismissed or selected for redundancy for a reason connected to your pregnancy or maternity leave;
  • Not to be treated unfavourably for a reason connected to your pregnancy or maternity leave;
  • Not to be harassed on the grounds of your sex; and
  • If fairly selected for redundancy, the right to be offered a suitable alternative role if one is available.

Redundancy is a potentially fair reason for dismissal, even when you are on maternity leave. Therefore, the first thing to ascertain is whether there is a ‘genuine redundancy situation’. This will arise in the following three situations:

  • When the business closes down temporarily or permanently
  • When the business moves and you cannot get to the new place of work
  • When fewer employees are required for a particular type of work.
  • Your employer is entitled to restructure their business as they see fit, and it is often difficult to prove whether there is a genuine redundancy situation or not.

However, the burden is on your employer to establish the genuine reason for your dismissal. If you are the only one selected for redundancy, or your employer is unable to demonstrate that any of the three situations above apply, then it may struggle to do this.

Protected Beliefs

Beliefs, large and small, form a fundamental part of who we are. Every person’s life is formed of an assortment of varying beliefs (or lack of), almost as unique as a fingerprint to each individual in the way that they differ, cross over and interact. The spectrum is vast – from football fanatics all the way to feminism and religious beliefs.

These common grounds of identity can become so embedded in our personality that when someone has a differing opinion or belief, if voiced in an inconsiderate way, it can cause harm and upset. For this reason, certain beliefs, in addition to religious beliefs, have been protected as ‘philosophical beliefs’ under the Equality Act 2010.

Protected Beliefs

FAQs

What different types of discrimination are there?

There are different types of discrimination that an employee can bring against a Company:

  • Direct Discrimination – treating someone less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic.
  • Indirect Discrimination – imposing a provision, criterion, or practice that puts individuals with a protected characteristic at a disadvantage.
  • Harassment – Unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic that has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment.
  • Victimisation – Treating someone unfairly because they have asserted their rights under the Equality Act, such as filing a discrimination complaint or supporting someone who has
  • Discrimination arising from disability – Treating a disabled person unfavourably because of something arising from, or in consequence of, their disability.
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments – Failure to accommodate the needs of a disabled person, where such adjustments would prevent a substantial disadvantage.
  • Associative Discrimination – Treating someone unfairly because they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic.
  • Perceptive Discrimination – Treating someone unfairly based on the perception that they have a particular protected characteristic, even if they do not.

What should I do if I think I have been discriminated against?

If you feel you have been subject to discrimination at work at work we strongly suggest you take legal advice on your position as we know how upsetting this can be. Our team of specialist employment lawyers support and advise you on your situation and the next steps. This could be looking to commence employment tribunal proceedings or raising an internal grievance in the first instance. 

How long do I have to bring a discrimination claim? 

There are strict time limits for bringing a discrimination claim in the UK. The ordinary time limit is three months (less one day) from the date of the act of discrimination. There are circumstances where this time limit can be extended through ACAS Early Conciliation. Our lawyers will be able to advise you on the time limits applicable to your position. It is important to act promptly if you believe you have been discriminated against in order to properly protect your position.

Can I be liable for the actions of my employees?

Yes you can. You are likely to be vicariously liable for the discriminatory actions of your employees if those actions fall within the scope of employment or in the course of their work-related duties. You may also be liable if you have failed to prevent or address discrimination within your workplace. This may include the failure to implement equal opportunity and harassment and bullying policies, failing to investigate complaints of discrimination adequately and failure to take the appropriate and corrective action. 

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