Raworths LLP
Discrimination Discrimination



We act for businesses as well as the people who create, own and invest in them, building long term relationships with our clients to understand the unique challenges and opportunities they face. Our depth of experience and knowledge is focussed on providing practical advice designed to meet all our clients’ business needs.

Individuals & Families

We understand how important your case is, our experienced teams are on hand to provide practical and effective legal advice. With one of the largest teams of lawyers in North Yorkshire we work for wealthy individuals and their families, trusts and family businesses - your needs are at the heart of what we do.


Our Commercial, Residential and Agricultural Property teams have the expertise to help you deal with the opportunities and challenges of the freehold and leasehold real estate market. We have substantial depth of experience of the property world and its demands which gives us the crucial ability to help you achieve your aims.

Resolving Disputes

Disputes are an unavoidable fact of life, but when they happen it is essential to find a quick, effective and practical solution to the situation. Whether your issues are commercial or business related, family or personal, we have the depth of experience, imagination and expertise to help you solve your problems.


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:

  • Direct discrimination. For example, where employees claim:
    • they haven’t been promoted because of their race;
    • they were dismissed because they were pregnant;
    • they were unsuccessful in a job application because of their age.
  • Indirect discrimination. For example, where employees claim that:
    • there’s a requirement that they are available to work on a Sunday which effects them disproportionately because they are a practising Christian;
    • a contractual clause requiring employees to travel abroad at short notice discriminates against women, because they are more likely to have childcare responsibilities.
  • the employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments in respect of their disability.

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.

  • Harassment. For example, where an employee claims someone has acted in an inappropriate way towards them because of a protected characteristic and that behaviour has violated their dignity or created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Examples include:
    • making sexist/racist jokes; and
    • avoiding someone because of their religion or because they are homosexual
  • Victimisation. For example, where an employee or job applicant claims they have suffered a detriment as a result of performing a protected act. Examples include:
    • bullying resulting from complaining about harassment; and
    • refusing to employ someone who gave evidence against a former employer.

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).

Related News / Articles

Jun 24

The benefits of a policy for keeping in touch during family leave

Returning to work from family leave can be a significant adjustment for some employees. As...


Mar 24

Employment law update – Spring 2024

This year is a busy one for employment legislation, after a few quiet years.  The...


Mar 24

Update for employers – new rules for flexible working requests

The right to request flexible working has been around for over 20 years, and in...


Jan 24

An employer’s guide to taking grievances seriously

Dealing with employee grievances can sometimes seem like a thankless drain on a business’s management...


Aug 23

Settlement agreements – considerations for employers

Using a settlement agreement to bring an employment relationship to an end, and effectively wipe...


Jan 23

What employers need to know about hidden disabilities

Have you ever spotted someone wearing a lanyard with a sunflower as a means of...


Aug 22

Negotiating a senior executive package

Recruiting the right senior executive can be an immense benefit to a company if they...