discrimination in the workplace

What you need to know about bringing a discrimination in the workplace claim

Discrimination at work is against the law. The Equality Act 2010 brings together older pieces of anti-discrimination legislation to provide a comprehensive defence against being discriminated against at work. If you feel like you’ve been a victim of workplace discrimination and you want to make a claim, how does it work?

How does the law protect you against being discriminated?

The law protects you from discrimination in a number of normal workplace situations, including dismissal, your contractual employment terms and conditions, pay and benefits, any promotion and transfer opportunities, workplace training, the recruitment process and situations of redundancy. You are protected from being discriminated against in these situations on the basis of:

- your age

- for being or becoming a transsexual person

- for being married or in a civil partnership

- for being pregnant or having a child

- for having a disability

- as a result of your race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin

- as a result of your religion, belief or lack of religion/belief

- as a result of your sex

- because of your sexual orientation

These are called ‘protected characteristics.’

Discrimination types

There are several types of discrimination:

Direct – being treated differently because of a protected characteristic.

Indirect – rules or arrangements that apply to all but would disadvantage someone with a protected characteristic.


Harassment – unwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic that creates an offensive environment or a violation of dignity for the victim.

Victimisation – unfair treatment as a result of a complaint of discrimination or harassment.

Time limits

Claims for discrimination in the workplace need to be made within three months of the discrimination taking place – this is a shorter time limit than for other types of discrimination (where the time limit is six months).

Getting information

You are entitled to ask for information about the way you have been treated from the organisation that you believe has discriminated against you, or from the people involved. It’s important to make sure that you ask for specific information that will help you understand why, and how, unfair treatment happened. This will give you a good idea as to whether you have a good case and how to proceed. When asking for information you should describe the unfair treatment as you remember it, cite the protected characteristic you believe is involved, explain why you think your treatment was discriminatory and ask if they agree.

The process of making a claim

A workplace claim starts with a claim form that will set out the events that you believe were discriminatory and why you believe these were unlawful. You will also need to state what you want the court to do about it, for example whether you are seeking compensation. It’s a good idea to get advice when preparing your claim, as you will need to be reasonably sure that discrimination has taken place to make a claim, and you may need help filling in the details of the claim.

Note: if possible, you should try to resolve your claim before going to a tribunal – for example, by going through the process of mediation – as anyone making a discrimination claim is expected to first make reasonable efforts to avoid going to tribunal.

Discuss your discrimination in the workplace claim with one of Goodharts’ experienced solicitors today by calling 0203 705 3080.

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