Here at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, we unfortunately often receive calls from concerned clients who have reported act(s) of discrimination and have then later been unfairly dismissed from their employment. Please read on to find out more.
What is Discrimination?
Discrimination is the umbrella term given to claims under the Equality Act 2010. Essentially, the Equality Act 2010 sets out various ways in which an employer’s treatment of a person because of a protection characteristic is unlawful.
These Protected Characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
For example, discrimination can occur where:
- You suffer less favourable treatment because of your age. For example, you miss out on a promotion because you are older than your colleagues.
- An employer has a policy or procedure which appears to apply to everyone but has a detrimental impact upon people with a disability. For example, a workplace focusses their redundancy selection criteria on sickness absence records. This would likely detrimentally impact employees with disabilities.
- A person suffers unwanted conduct which causes a distressing, humiliating or offensive environment for them. For example, an employee is subject to comments made about their sexual orientation.
Please note, the above is not an exhaustive list of possible discriminatory behaviour in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 details a wide range of claims and protections for employees. If you are struggling at work, please use the contact form, engage in a web chat, email email@example.com or call us on 01522 440512 and we will be happy to help.
Alternatively, for more information about discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010, please see here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/workplace-problems/discrimination-bullying-and-harassment/
What Should I Do If I Suffer Discrimination at Work?
Here at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, we understand if you are suffering (or have suffered) discrimination in the workplace, it can be incredibly difficult and stressful. In these circumstances, we would always advise raising the issue with your employer promptly. You may wish to do so by raising a Formal Grievance. For more information about this, please see here- https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/how-to-raise-a-formal-grievance/
Reporting the discrimination to your employer (whether via a Formal Grievance or otherwise) is very important as:
- Hopefully, action will be taken by your employer and matters will be resolved; and
- An Employment Tribunal will expect you to have raised your concerns directly with your employer, before submitting a claim; and
- To protect your position in the future, should the treatment towards you unfortunately worsen, as below.
What Happens if I Am Dismissed For Reporting Discrimination?
If, after reporting the discrimination you have suffered, your situation worsens, you may have further claims (i.e., in addition to the original discrimination suffered) in the Employment Tribunal. The claim you would bring is Victimisation.
A claim for Victimisation at work is brought to the Employment Tribunal under the Equality Act 2010. Essentially, this is where you are subjected to a detriment by your employer because:
- You have done a ‘protected act’; or
- Your employer thinks you have done, or may do, a “protected act”.
What is a Protected Act?
The first step in establishing a Victimisation claim is identifying a “protected act”. This is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as follows:
(a) bringing proceedings under the Equality Act 2010;
(b) giving evidence or information in connection with proceedings under the Equality Act 2010;
(c) doing any other thing for the purposes of or in connection with the Equality Act 2010;
(d) making an allegation (whether or not express) that someone has contravened the Equality Act 2010.
As above, reporting discrimination to your employer in a Formal Grievance (or via other means) is likely to be deemed a protected act. Importantly, such report could be made verbally, via online message, email or any other means.
Also, you do not necessarily need to refer to “discrimination” or “the Equality Act 2010” explicitly in your report. However, to best protect your position, we would always recommend being clear as possible in any report you make.
Have You Suffered a Detriment?
The next step to establishing a Victimisation claim under the Equality Act 2010 is that your employer (and/or colleague) has subjected you to a detriment. This could include being dismissed from your employment, for example.
Other common detriments include being rejected for a promotion; excluded from meetings; denied bonuses; reductions in your hours or being subjected to unsubstantiated disciplinary or capability processes.
Was the Detriment Because of the Protected Act?
For a Victimisation claim, it is also very important there is a causal link between the detriment and the protected act. For example, the reason for your dismissal was because you did a protected act (i.e., reported the discriminatory behaviour).
In practice, common examples include:
- You report during a meeting that you have been subjected to sexual harassment at a work Christmas party. You are then subjected to unsubstantiated disciplinary proceedings and later dismissed.
- You raise a Formal Grievance about being treated less favourably during your maternity leave than your colleagues. You are then selected for redundancy.
- You email your employer about hurtful comments made about your disability by your colleagues. In response, your employer walks into your office and tells you to pack your belongings and leave.
There is no strict time frame required between the protected act and the detriment. Therefore, in theory, there could be days, months or even years between a protected act and detriment. However, importantly, the causation “because of” question will always need to be established..
For more information about a Victimisation claim (including the relevant time limits for pursuing such claim in the Employment Tribunal), please see here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/do-i-have-a-victimisation-claim-in-the-employment-tribunal/
Further Assistance from Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
If you believe you have a claim for Victimisation, or you are experiencing other issues at work, please use the contact form, engage in a web chat, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01522 440512 and we will be happy to help.
Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
Tags: acas Age Discrimination disability discrimination discrimination and victimisation employment solicitor employment tribunal formal grievance gender reassignment discrimination Kate Key lincs law employment solicitors marriage discrimination maternity discrimination pregnancy discrimination race discrimination religion discrimination sexual orientation discrimination victimisation