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What Can Count As Discrimination At Work?

The law protects employees from discrimination in the workplace. But what exactly counts as discrimination?

Discrimination at work is when you are treated differently/unfairly because of a personal attribute. These are called ‘protected characteristics’ and include: age; gender; being pregnant or having a child; disability; race; religion; sexual orientation; being married or in a civil partnership and being or becoming a transsexual.

An employee should also be protected from discrimination if they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic. This might include, for example, an employee that has a homosexual child or a disabled spouse.

Despite the law, discrimination at work does still happen. This can take many forms but generally means that someone with a protected characteristic is treated less favourably or put at a disadvantage. Discrimination also incorporates harassment (offending someone’s dignity) and victimisation (targeting someone because he/she has made a complaint).

Common examples of discrimination at work include:-

  • Being dismissed because of a protected characteristic;
  • Having less favourable employment terms and contract because of a protected characteristic;
  • Having less favourable pay and benefits because of a protected characteristic;
  • Being denied training because of a protected characteristic;
  • Being denied promotion and transfer opportunities because of a protected characteristic;
  • Being made redundant because of a protected characteristic;
  • Having a job application refused because of a protected characteristic.

An employer has a legal duty to prevent discrimination at work, and to deal with any incidents of discrimination quickly and effectively. Therefore if you or your loved one is being discriminated against at work, do not suffer in silence. Instead contact a legal expert to find out what action you can take.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our employment services, please call us on 01772 424999, email enquiries@solicitordirect.com or fill in the free enquiry form below and we will phone you:

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