Discrimination at work
If you have been the victim of discrimination at work then taking action isn’t just vital for your career, but will also help you maintain your self-respect. A greater awareness of discrimination over recent years has led to a tightening of the law, making it much more difficult for employers to evade their responsibilities and making it easier for affected employees to take action against discrimination in the workplace. Our dedicated employment solicitors have many years’ experience of successfully representing clients in discrimination cases and can help you resolve the situation. No matter how complex your case, we will give you practical advice and help to ensure that your interests are protected. In the meantime you may be interested to know:
Types of discrimination
Discrimination can occur because of:
- sexual orientation;
- religion or belief;
- gender reassignment; or
The above factors are called “protected characteristics”.
- unlawful discrimination arises if a person is treated less favourably than someone else because of their protected characteristic, e.g. sex or race etc. The comparison does not have to be with a real person but can be a hypothetical one. Discrimination may also arise from a dismissal or another issue such as harassment or victimisation.
- “indirect” discrimination – where an employee is subjected to a provision, criterion or practice which more employees of that sex (or race etc) would suffer – is also possible. For example, a requirement that an employee work full-time as opposed to part-time may indirectly discriminate against women.
- legal protection from discrimination exists at the recruitment stage, during the course of employment and, in some circumstances, following the end of employment. In certain exceptional circumstances, however, an employer may have a defence of “occupational requirement” in relation to some types of work.
Employees are also protected from discrimination because of a “disability”, which is defined as: “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.” There are extra forms of protection when the relevant protected characteristic is “disability”. Unlawful disability discrimination occurs if:
- someone is treated unfavourably for a reason arising from their disability;
- an employer fails to make reasonable adjustments where a provision, criterion or practice, or a physical feature of the premises or failure to provide an auxiliary aid, places a disabled employee at a substantial disadvantage;
- someone is treated less favourably because of their disability;
- someone suffers disability harassment; or
- someone suffers indirect disability discrimination.
Neurodiversity covers a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and autism.
It is estimated that around 1 in 7 people are neurodiverse. Many people do not know they are neurodiverse and this can lead to difficulties in the workplace, for example, performance improvement plans being brought against them. For those who are aware of their neurodiversity, there is an initial question as to whether they disclose their neurodiversity to their employer and, if they do, whether the employer reacts in a supportive way, including providing reasonable adjustments.
There are various protections available to employees who class as “disabled” under the Equality Act 2010, which can cover different types of neurodiversity.
Our solicitors have considerable experience in dealing with all types of discrimination and Jenna Ide regularly advises clients in neurodiversity cases involving dyslexia, ADHD and autism. She successfully represented dyslexic claimant, Meseret Kumulchew, in her case against Starbucks, which was widely reported by the national media press, including the BBC.