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Employees who are victim to discrimination can often be at a loss of where to turn, especially where the discriminating party is their senior. Many employees are unsure of their rights and as a result let the discrimination continue without taking action.

Discrimination can take many forms; it can be direct or indirect, include harassment and victimisation and can even take place outside of the workplace.

If you feel that you are being treated less favourably than a colleague because of your age, gender, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation, then you have three options:

  • Complain informally to your employer
  • Bring a grievance using your employer’s grievance procedure; or
  • Make a claim to the Employment Tribunal.

You do not have to choose just one of these options, instead try them in turn and if the issue cannot be resolved by your employer you can make a claim to the Employment Tribunal.

Be aware that if you would like to proceed with your claim at the Employment Tribunal, you will need to tell the Tribunal about your claim within three months (less one day) of the incident. It should be taken into consideration that taking court action can be a long and stressful process, not to mention expensive and if the case is unsuccessful you run the risk of having to pay the other parties' costs. It is therefore crucial that you establish and document any incidents of discrimination thoroughly.

From 6 April 2014 all employees are required to go through a process of early conciliation with ACAS before a claim can be brought before the Tribunal. We can help in negotiating claims and ensuring that you have the best possibility of success should you wish to proceed to Tribunal.

If you feel that you may be a victim of discrimination in the workplace or have any questions regarding discrimination, please contact a member of our Employment Team on 01279 755777 or contact Gary Smith, Partner in our Employment Team.

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