The law protects you against discrimination at work. The protection starts from recruitment and continues throughout your employment and beyond, including providing references.
Not every situation where you are treated differently from others is discriminatory
Having said that, for example, paying a senior manager a higher salary than a junior member of staff is unlikely to constitute discrimination. It is to be expected that earnings will vary depending on an employee’s status and skill. In the same way, your being taken on as an employee, any training you receive and any promotion you achieve are all things which can reasonably be offered by your employer on the basis of individual merit.
What counts as discrimination?
At the heart of discrimination is equality. Your employer is not permitted to prevent you taking advantage of an opportunity in the workplace for any reason other than your ability to perform your job.
Examples of discrimination could include: a job applicant who is refused employment because of his religious beliefs; or a female member who is denied promotion because she is pregnant.
Discrimination comes in many forms, (direct, indirect, harassment and victiminsation). As we have seen, unfair treatment can be based on religion or belief or pregnancy. It can also be founded upon age, disability, ethnicity or race, gender, sexual orientation, sex, marriage/civil partnership and gender reassignment. These are known as the nine “protected characteristics”.
In 2009, Miriam O’Reilly from the BBC programme “Countryfile” lost her job. She was 51 years old and considered “too old”. She made a claim to an Employment Tribunal and was successful. This was an obvious breach of the rules in relation to age discrimination. She received a compensation payment of several thousand pounds.
Action to take if you are affected by discriminatory behaviour by your employer
If you are concerned that you are the subject of discrimination at work then you should try to sort things out with your employer. You could have a chat with your boss, HR or invoke the formal grievance procedure to have your complaint considered.
Get in touch with us for help
If you do not make progress by approaching your employer directly, get in touch with us for an initial discussion – which is free of charge and without obligation.
Contact us on 01343 544077 or complete and submit a Free Online Enquiry to us by clicking HERE.
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