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How to Handle Discrimination in the Workplace

23 November 2021

Richard Lozano

Although most businesses have come a long way in their fights against inequality and discrimination in the workplace, there are still some instances that still exist in society today. Facing prejudice in your place of work, whether this is direct or indirect discrimination or harassment can be incredibly difficult to deal with. From the process of recruitment to well into an employee’s employment, employers and fellow staff members may still exhibit bias or discrimination from time to time. If you believe you are facing discrimination at work, there are certain steps you can take.

If discussions with your manager or employer have reached an impasse, or you feel uncomfortable broaching the subject, there are employment solicitors who can help you build a case by providing expert legal advice. Here at Taylor Bracewell, our solicitors in Doncaster and Sheffield understand the intricacies involved in bringing a claim against your employer, and can help you every step of the way. If you wish to bring a discrimination claim, please read our article below.


Common Forms of Discrimination

When an individual is treated unfavourably because of certain so-called protected characteristics, it is considered discrimination. Someone may be treated differently because of their gender, sexuality, race, religion or disability, which can lead to an unpleasant and toxic work environment. Fellow staff members, management or employers can act in a prejudiced way towards an employee, which can be considered an unlawful act. 

Direct discrimination occurs when someone actively treats an employee differently, such as when a promotion is offered to a less qualified man over a fully qualified woman, whereas indirect discrimination takes place when a workplace rule or policy puts an employee at a disadvantage. For instance, if a job requires someone to have ten years of experience, this could be seen as unfair to younger people who have the experience and qualifications necessary. 

The Equality Act 2010 lists nine protected characteristics that protect employees workplace. These are:

  • Gender reassignment
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Sexuality
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Marriage/partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity

If your employer or your fellow employees have discriminated against you because of one of these characteristics, you could have grounds to make a legal claim. No matter whether you are currently being discriminated against in your role, or you have been unfairly dismissed, we can help. You can find out more about our employment law solicitors services here.


How to Identify Discrimination

Discrimination can start as early as the recruitment process. Candidates should be judged based upon their ability to do the job, no matter their age, gender or if they have a disability. There are steps in place that employers can follow to ensure their job advertisements do not discriminate against age, for example, if they use terminology such as “recent graduate” if they are actual requirements for the job. Also, many studies have shown that women may still be likely to be discriminated against, especially if they are in their fertile years and may need maternity leave in the coming years or indeed due to becoming pregnant or taking maternity leave.

Employers must not ask questions regarding the previously mentioned protected characteristics during the recruitment process, except on rare occasions. To avoid discriminating against someone with a disability, for example, employers should ask if there are any reasonable adjustments that can be made to allow the employee to overcome the disadvantage caused by their disability. If you believe that you are being discriminated against, there are employment solicitors who can assist you in building your claims, helping you satisfy the burden of proof and providing expert advice to determine whether you have a case to pursue.


Taking Action; How we Can Help

Here at Taylor Bracewell, our solicitors in Doncaster and Sheffield have years of experience in helping claimants settle their case with their employers. No matter whether you have experienced discrimination in the workplace from your employers or fellow employees, discrimination should not be tolerated, under any circumstances. Pursuing a claim can be a difficult process that can take an emotional toll; our solicitors will always take this mental strain into consideration, providing you with expert legal advice you can trust.

If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, please get in touch with us today by filling out our online contact form here. Please note that it is important to seek advice without undue delay. important time limits apply to Employment Tribunal claims, and you have just three months less one day to take action.