As a general rule, your place of work should be somewhere that you can rely on being treated fairly. However, for many people, the workplace can be somewhere they don’t feel comfortable. According to the Health & Safety Executive, in 2014/15, 23.3 million days were lost due to work-related ill health and 9.9 million of those lost days were due to stress, depression or anxiety. We are a stressed out nation and often the problems and anxieties that managers and work colleagues suffer end up getting taken out on us. So, what can you do if you feel like you’re being treated unfairly at work?
Although bullying is not against the law, your workplace should have procedures in place to deal with problems that arise between co-workers. If you feel like your boss is bullying you then it’s important to make a complaint to your HR department and get on record what has happened and how it has made you feel. It may be that the issue can be resolved or the company may need to take some action against your boss, particularly if it turns out that you are not the only person affected.
The Equality Act
When the law steps in to protect people from being unfairly treated at work, it is the Equality Act that provides the basis. The act defines a number of protected characteristics and if you are treated unfairly on the basis of any of these then this will have serious legal consequences. These qualities are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
Unfair treatment may be discrimination if you have been treated less favorably than others in the same situation would have been treated because of a protected characteristic listed above. You may also be a victim of discrimination if your workplace has a practice or provision that doesn’t directly affect you but indirectly discriminates against you because of the way it affects someone with a protected characteristic that you have.
As well as discrimination, you are also protected from harassment at work. This may occur if someone has behaved in a way that violates your dignity, or an environment that is frightening, degrading, hostile, offensive and humiliating is created as a result of the conduct, which is connected to a protected characteristic.
Victimisation at work relates to a situation in which you may be treated unfairly because you have taken action under the Equality Act 2010. That action may be bringing proceedings for discrimination or harassment, providing information about what happened or even alleging that someone has done something to you that is against the Equality Act 2010.
Making a claim for unfair treatment
If you have been discriminated against or harassed at work then you may be able to make a claim for compensation. A Tribunal may order compensation for any financial loss as a result of the treatment and also for the mental or physical effect that it has had.
Find out more and speak to an experienced employment solicitor directly today by calling Goodharts on 0191 206 4103.