Allegations of discrimination are a problem many employers face at one time or another. Employment law protects employees where discrimination or harassment has taken place in relation to a person’s sex, gender reassignment, marriage (or civil partnership), pregnancy or maternity leave, race (including ethnic or national origin, nationality and colour), disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, or age. These are known as ‘protected characteristics’.
Unlike claims of unfair dismissal employees don’t need to have worked for their employer for a minimum period in order to bring a discrimination/harassment claim. There is also no limit to the amount of compensation that can be awarded where someone brings a successful claim of discrimination/harassment. As a result, employees can bring discrimination claims when they’re unable to bring claims of unfair dismissal.
Types of discrimination
Acts of discrimination are not limited to people making overtly discriminatory comments. In fact, it’s rare that this occurs. Discrimination claims include claims that employers have policies that discriminate against a certain type of employee because they have a disproportionately adverse effect on them. Employers can also face claims that they have failed to make reasonable adjustments to assist disabled employees in carrying out their duties.
Our Harrogate based team of specialist employment solicitors have helped employers avoid and/or defend all types of discrimination claims including:
If an employment tribunal accepts that an employer has indirectly discriminated, it is still possible to argue that the policy/requirement was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. So, using one of the examples above, justification for requiring Sunday working might be that the business is open seven days a week and has a history of struggling to get employees to work on Sundays.
How can we help?
Our team of employment solicitors have vast experience of helping employers defend all types of discrimination claims and helping employers manage and spot risks ahead of time. If you have a question, or require advice for your business, give us a call and we will guide you through the problem.
The law states that an employer may not be liable for acts of discrimination if it can show that it has an anti-discrimination policy and has trained its staff. As part of our service, we can provide your business with comprehensive anti-discrimination training to managers and other members of your staff. The training can be provided at our Harrogate office or at an alternative venue to suit you (and subject to numbers).