In the field of employment law, discrimination has a specific meaning. Many people complain of general bullying and harassment and allege that they are suffering from discrimination. Discrimination is less favourable treatment but it must be on the grounds of what we call a “protected characteristic”. There are currently 9 of these as follows:
- Sexual orientation
- Religion and belief
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
To complicate matters further, discrimination can be direct, indirect, harassment or victimisation so that there are potentially 4 types of discrimination claim but we can provide advice and assistance with regard to all of these as well as representation in the employment tribunal.
Harassment claims arise where the person claiming alleges that they have been subjected to intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive treatment which violates their dignity but again, it must be conduct which is based upon one of the protected characteristics.
A particular feature of discrimination claims is that no qualifying service is required and indeed even applicants for employment who are not selected either for interview or appointed to the position can bring claims if they can show that the reason for their non-selection / non-appointment was by reason of one of the protected characteristics.
If you feel that you have been treated unfairly as above or if you are an employer facing a claim, certain time limits apply and it is therefore essential that you take advice at an early stage. Please therefore contact us by calling 0113 218 5459 for immediate and reliable advice.
Discrimination can be either direct or indirect.
The concept of direct discrimination, victimisation and harassment applies to discrimination related to gender, being married or having a civil partner, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age and disability.
You are eligible to make a claim for discrimination if you are a job applicant, apprentice, employee, former employee, contract worker, or working on a contract personally to execute work.
There is no minimum length of service required.
To be successful in a claim for Direct Discrimination, you must be able to show that:
- You received less favourable treatment because of a protected characteristic, for example, race or age, etc.
- The treatment was different to others. It is not enough to be simply unfair treatment, you have to show that the treatment was a result of one of the factors noted above.
- You have a comparator. It is useful (but not essential) to find a real-life comparator.
Indirect discrimination is where your employer has applied a provision/criteria or practice which disadvantages you and which would tend to disadvantage others of your race, sex, age, etc. It is not unlawful if your employer can justify the provision or practice by showing that it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.