Discrimination at Work Lawyers in Paisley

Discrimination at work is defined as the different treatment of an employee on the basis of one of a protected characteristic. Discrimination is against the law, and all employees have the right to be treated equally. If you think that you have received unfair or different treatment than the rest of your co-workers because of one or more of your personal characteristics, then contact Hunter & Robertson Solicitors today. Our dedicated team are experienced in dealing with employees and employers in cases involving discrimination in the workplace.

What are the personal characteristics that are protected?

Less favourable treatment of an employee on the grounds of certain characteristics, constitutes discrimination in the workplace. The characteristics which are enshrined in the law are known as protected characteristics. The protected characteristics can be found in the Equality Act 2010, and are as follows:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Sex
  • Religion or belief
  • Race
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Gender identity and gender reassignment
  • Disability
  • Age

The protection against discrimination which is based on these characteristics also extends to family members. This means, for example, that if your child has a disability, you cannot be treated less favourably than a co-worker who has no disabled children. This also applies to an employee’s status, meaning that someone who works part-time cannot be treated less favourably than someone who works full time.

What counts as discrimination, or different treatment?

Different treatment of an employee includes things such as allowing members of one religion to observe religious practices, but not another, it could also include only allowing people with no children to apply for certain roles, or even denying promotions to anyone of a certain ethnicity.

There are three types of discrimination, other than direct discrimination which can occur in the workplace:

  • Indirect discrimination. This is a less obvious type of discrimination, and more often than not, it is done unintentionally. This type of discrimination covers situations which mean those with protected characteristics are put at a disadvantage which cannot be justified. An example of indirect discrimination would be advertising for a job which specifies a long minimum period of experience. This could be seen as discrimination against younger candidates, and would count as discrimination.
  • This is a type of discrimination which involves an employee feeling like their dignity has been violated, or that they have been put in an environment that they feel is degrading, humiliating, hostile, offensive or intimidating, because of the unwanted conduct of another employee. The behaviour can come in the form of unwanted sexual advances, or against something which is related to another type of protected characteristic. An example of harassment in the work place would be threatening or even bullying an employee.
  • This is a type of workplace discrimination which means an employee is being treated unfairly as a result of them bringing proceedings or giving evidence under the Equality Act.

Is workplace discrimination ever justified?

Workplace discrimination is a complex matter, and whether or not it can be justified, it can often be defended by employers by being proportionate to achieving a legitimate aim. The objective nature of the assessment of this makes it a difficult thing to overcome.

Discrimination Lawyers Paisley, Scotland

If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of a protected characteristic, and you don’t believe that you can resolve the issue with your employer, then you may be able to make a discrimination claim in an employment tribunal. If you feel like you have been the victim of bullying or harassment, in some extreme cases you may be entitled to bring proceedings in the courts, even in cases not relating to protected characteristics.

What time limits do I have to adhere to when making a discrimination claim?

Discrimination claims have strict deadlines that must be followed. You only have three months since the last date you were discriminated against to act. If the discrimination you are receiving is ongoing, then the time limit runs at the end of the time when the discrimination began. If it relates to a specific incident which continues to have consequences, then the time limit begins to run when the specific incident takes place.

What evidence do I need to make a claim?

Anyone making a claim of discrimination must support this claim with evidence. This can include a witness statement from the person who is making the allegations of discrimination. Other evidence may include witness statements from co-workers, or others who can confirm that discrimination took place, as well as documentary evidence including letters and e-mails.

Contact Hunter & Robertson, Expert Discrimination in the Workplace Lawyers Paisley, Scotland

If you have a workplace discrimination enquiry, contact our employment law solicitors in Paisley on 0141 530 4405 or fill out our enquiry form here.

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