Victimisation is one of the most misunderstood terms in employment law.
Obviously, in everyday language, terms such as bullying, victimisation or harassment can be used interchangeably. They can refer to similar conduct or behaviour by an employer or colleagues. However, a claim of victimisation at the Employment Tribunal has a very specific meaning with specific elements which must be proven.
Victimisation at the Employment Tribunal
A claim for victimisation is brought to the Employment Tribunal under the Equality Act 2010. Under the act, victimisation is where a person is treated badly or subjected to a detriment by their employer because they have done a ‘protected act’.
What are Protected Acts?
If you are considering bringing a claim for victimisation at the Employment Tribunal, your first step is to identify your protected act. Essentially, these are complaints about discrimination you may have made concerning yourself or support you have given to a colleague in their complaint of discrimination. Any one of the following would be sufficient to be a protected act: –
- Raising a grievance or complaint about discrimination you have suffered.
- Submitting a claim for discrimination to the Employment Tribunal.
- Giving evidence or support to a colleague in their complaint or claim of discrimination.
- Taking any steps related to the Equality Act 2010.
- Identified that a colleague has done something unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
The above is not an exhaustive list. When considering whether you can bring a claim for victimisation, you must clearly identify your protected act.
What are detriments?
In a claim for victimisation, you must demonstrate that you have suffered a detriment because of your protected act. The detriment will be the disadvantage you have suffered because of your protected act above. I give some examples below from Employment Tribunal claims we have successfully pursued for our clients: –
- A local authority client submitted a grievance regarding race discrimination, she was then subjected to a completely unjustified disciplinary process.
- A client from a large multi-national employer made a complaint of maternity discrimination, a few weeks later she was the only person selected for redundancy.
- A client gave a witness statement in support of a colleague’s complaint of sexual harassment. A few weeks later, he was told that his hours would be reduced and that he was being sent to work from a different site.
- An employee made a complaint of sex discrimination. Her complaint was upheld but then weeks later she was subjected to a completely unjustified performance improvement procedure.
In all of the above cases, we were successfully able to draw a link between the protected act of the employee and the subsequent retaliation by their employer.
Do you need help with your victimisation claim?
If you believe you have a claim for victimisation, please call Lincs Law on 01522 440512 for a free, no obligation, discussion about your matter. As a solicitors’ practice specialising only in employment law, we help thousands of people just like you with their problems at work. For more information about Lincs Law, please visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk
Sally Hubbard, Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Solicitors, Lincoln.