Seeking Legal Advice Due to Discrimination in the Workplace
Discrimination in the workplace can cover a wide range of problems and behaviours. Under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful for any business to treat you unfairly at work because of who you are.
You might find yourself discriminated against because of your sex, age, your religion or because you have a disability, for example. That discrimination might be direct and easy to identify or it might be hidden by a work process or specific policy that puts you at a disadvantage compared to others.
Understanding whether you are being discriminated at work means you have to answer some important questions. The first is who is discriminating against you – it could be your employer, a line manager or work colleagues. It could even be another organisation such as an employment agency.
The next step is to understand why you are being discriminated against at all. You might be at a disadvantage in the company because of your age or because you are a woman in a male dominated environment. You may have a disability and the business isn’t making the reasonable adjustments to the workplace you might expect. You may be discriminated against because of your sexual orientation, your religious beliefs or your ethnicity.
Next you need to highlight what the discriminating behaviour is. Perhaps you’re being unfairly treated when you go for a job interview because you come from a particular ethnic background. You might face bigger hurdles because you’re taking time off on maternity leave or you could find yourself excluded from certain meetings because of your sexual orientation or the fact that you have a disability.
Direct discrimination is where you are obviously being treated differently because of who you are or because someone thinks you are a particular sort of person. Indirect discrimination comes about when your employer puts in a policy or way of doing things that puts you at a disadvantage compared to other people. Discrimination can, of course, be a lot more vocal and open and verge on harassment because of the way a person talks to you or makes jokes about you or people like you.
Many workplaces have processes in place to help those who feel they are being discriminated against address the issue. It usually means they can talk to someone in confidence and find ways to resolve the situation through a HR department or designated manager. Employers and employees can obviously be held responsible under the law for their actions if discrimination is taking place and nothing is done about it.
It can be a big step to decide to take legal action against your employer or someone in the workplace for discrimination. Many people who do so have endured long periods of discrimination before they decide to finally seek legal advice.
At Forster Dean, we have a highly qualified team of employment solicitors who are well versed in Equality Act legislation and can help decide if you have a claim or not. You’ll get a sympathetic ear and the chance of some impartial advice so you’ll at least know what your options are. If you feel you’ve been the victim of discrimination in the workplace, then contact us today.