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It is unlawful to discriminate, victimise or harass you because of your sex, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment, religion or belief. These are known as protected characteristics.
Forms of discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 sets out the law which prohibits this discrimination. There are various forms of discrimination which are known as direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment. There are two additional forms of discrimination relating to disability and they are: discrimination arising from disability and a duty to make reasonable adjustments.
Eligibility to bring a claim
You do not need any period of continuous employment to be eligible to make a discrimination claim. Discrimination can apply even before you start a job e.g. when deciding whether to offer you a job and the terms upon which you are offered any job.
More usually, discrimination claims arise once you are in employment. Discrimination in relation to the protected characteristics is prohibited in relation to promotion, transfer, training and benefits, dismissing you or subjecting you to any other detriment.
Liability for discrimination
Liability for proven discrimination normally lies with your employer, even if it is one of your work colleagues or managers who have discriminated against you. You may also be able to make a claim against the person responsible for the discrimination.
You may decide to raise a grievance with your employer about the issues which you are experiencing at work. This may resolve the problem so that you feel happy to continue in your job, rather than resign. However, quite often, employees are left unhappy with the outcome of grievances and still want to leave employment.
If you have a discrimination claim, we can often negotiate a Settlement Agreement with your employer. We have experience in writing to employers, setting out your claims and inviting your employer to offer a financial package to you.
In return for accepting the financial package, you would give up your employment claims and this may (but not always) include your employment ending under a Settlement Agreement.
Settlement Agreements are legal binding agreements upon which you must receive independent legal advice. The Agreement usually includes a variety of clauses, such as the settlement of claims, confidentiality of the Agreement, an agreement that neither side makes derogatory comments about the other and (if your employment is terminating) the provision of an agreed reference for you.
Discrimination claims often involve complex issues of fact and law. If you would like to discuss a discrimination claim with our Employment Solicitor, Julia Woodhouse, please call her on 024 7653 1532 or email her at Julia.Woodhouse@bttj.com.
Our solicitors work across the whole of the Coventry and Warwickshire region including Rugby, Nuneaton, Bedworth, Leamington Spa, Kenilworth, Warwick, Atherstone and Balsall Common as well as further afield.
The above is not intended to provide advice.