Equality, diversity and discrimination in the workplace
Everyone has the right to work, with laws in place to prevent someone from being discriminated against due to a personal characteristic. The laws covering this aspect of employment law are focused on:
- Equality: Everyone should have equal access to jobs, pay and promotions, and must not be discriminated against.
- Diversity: This covers the range of people in a workplace, looking at everything from gender and race to religion beliefs and sexual preferences.
- Discrimination: This is covered by specific discrimination legislation on aspects of a person that should not be taken into account in workplace decisions.
At Crombie Wilkinson, our employment law solicitors can help you to either put in place guidelines to help you reduce the chances of workplace discrimination or provide legal support and advice for a discrimination claim.
What is the main law that covers discrimination?
The Equality Act 2010 is the main law that covers discrimination in the workplace. This law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of age, gender, relationship status, pregnancy, disability, race, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. In discrimination law, these are referred to as ‘protected characteristics’.
Discrimination law means an employer cannot:
- Treat someone differently because of a protected characteristic
- Create rules that puts them at a disadvantage
- Harass someone with a protected characteristic
- Victimize someone who complains they are being discriminated against.
Even if you create a rule that applies to everyone equally, if it affects someone covered by a protected characteristic you could be guilty of indirect discrimination.
Types of discrimination
While the protected characteristics cover the core areas of equality and diversity laws, within these there are some types of discrimination it’s worth being aware of.
The most common areas of discrimination law tend to be around disability, gender and race discrimination. Our team of discrimination solicitors can handle any complaints regarding these areas.
We also have expert employment law solicitors who can handle more specific areas, such as dyslexia discrimination laws, and pregnancy or maternity discrimination claims.
Discrimination laws also cover the need for an employer to make reasonable adjustments to those who are at a disadvantage to others. This can include changes to a building, providing support for those with mental or physical health problems, and changing routines and working practices to accommodate such people.
Making discrimination claims
At Crombie, our specialist employment discrimination solicitors can help making or dealing with a discrimination claim, whether you are the employer or employee.
To make a claim, the claimant should check discrimination has taken place under the Equality Act, gather evidence of the discrimination and make the claim within a set time frame.
A discrimination at work claim needs to be made within 3 months minus 1 day of the incident. If the discrimination wasn’t a single act, but a sustained breaking of the laws, the claim period begins at the most recent incident.
For employment law advice, please contact Neil Largan.