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Discrimination, Victimisation and Harassment

It is illegal to discriminate because of age, disability, gender reassignment, martial status (including civil partnerships), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. This behaviour still persists and the law provides workers with protection and powerful remedies.

The law protects individuals against discrimination in a number of ways including:

  • on the selection and appointment of staff
  •  the arrangements for and access to promotion and training
  • from detrimental treatment including harassment, and on selection and reasons for dismissal.
  •  There is also legal protection for employees from discrimination in the way in which any policies, procedures or practices are operated by the employer. This type of discrimination is known as ‘indirect discrimination’.
  • There is also an obligation on employers to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace and work practices to enable disabled people to do their work as effectively as possible. Not every type of adjustment will be ‘reasonable’. The legislation and court cases provide some guidance on this. We can advise you on your obligation to make  reasonable adjustments.

The law on protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, and on religion and on belief came into effect in December 2003. It provides protection from direct discrimination on these grounds, including harassment, and ‘indirect’ discrimination. The protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation also includes protection from discrimination on the basis of the perceived sexual orientation of the employee, as well as actual sexual orientation. We can explain these rights and guide you through the legal process.

Claims of discrimination can be made against an employer even when the individual concerned has never worked for that employer – such as in connection with a job application.

There is NO upper limit on the compensation awards that may be awarded to a victim of discrimination. The Employment Tribunal is not afraid to make substantial punitive awards where it finds discrimination.