What is discrimination?
Each person has a feature or quality that identifies them – blue eyes, brown hair, tall, short are all examples of a characteristic that can be used to describe a person. Discrimination occurs when someone treats someone else unfairly because they possess certain characteristics. The Equality Act 2010 highlights 9 protected characteristics:
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Sexual orientation
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
Different types of discrimination
Discrimination can be either Direct or Indirect.
Direct is when you can point to someone without your characteristic and show you are treated less favourably – for example you are not given the opportunity to apply for a promotion because you are on maternity.
Indirect is when a policy or procedure discriminates against you because of your characteristic – for example a policy that all employees must retire when they are 60 is indirect age discrimination.
Harassment is another form of discrimination which is defined as unwanted behaviour that makes another person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. This covers behaviour such as physical gestures, verbal abuse, being constantly made the butt of jokes, receiving offensive emails.
What do I do if I think I am being discriminated against?
Your employer must not discriminate against you. They also have a duty to ensure that no one else discriminates against you in the workplace – whether that is a customer, a client or a colleague.
Examples of discrimination include
- someone calling you names because of your race
- being sacked because you are pregnant
- getting overlooked for promotion because you are a woman
- having to suffer being treated differently because you are older than the rest of your colleagues
- being disabled but your employer not making reasonable adjustments
You can find out more about discrimination in our article discrimination-in-the-workplace
Come and talk to the employment team Jon Heath or Louise Roberts at Levins Solicitors. We have knowledge and experience of fighting for the rights of employees who have been discriminated against. We will listen to you, and if we take on your case, help you every step of the way.
Call Levin’s now on 0151 480 5777, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.