Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Discrimination at work – an introduction

Discrimination at work occurs if you are treated unfairly in the course of your employment because of a protected characteristic, such as your age, race, sex or disability (among others). You are also protected from being sexually harassed at work and are subject to strict protections if you are pregnant or on maternity leave. You can find out in our guides what your rights are and what you can do if you believe that you have been discriminated against by your employer or your colleagues.

A short introduction to discrimination law

Discrimination in the workplace occurs if a worker is treated detrimentally because of a ‘protected characteristic’ that the worker (or a third party) possesses. In this guide we briefly explore the concepts of:

  1. What a protected characteristic is;
  2. What types of discrimination can occur in the workplace; and
  3. Who can pursue a claim for discrimination in the workplace

Protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010

There are nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010:

  1. Sex: read our guide to sex discrimination in the workplace
  2. Age: read our guide to age discrimination in the workplace
  3. Race: read our guide to race discrimination in the workplace
  4. Disability: read our guide to discrimination because of your (or someone else’s) disability
  5. Sexual orientation: read our guide to sexual orientation discrimination
  6. Gender orientation: discrimination because of your (or someone else’s) gender orientation
  7. Pregnancy and maternity: read our guide to discrimination because of your (or someone else’s) pregnancy or period of maternity leave
  8. Marriage or civil partnership: discrimination because you (or someone else) is married or in a civil partnership
  9. Religious or philosophical belief: read our guide to discrimination because of religious or philosophical belief

Types of discrimination

There are various types of discrimination that can occur in the workplace – these are as follows:

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination in the workplace occurs when you are treated less favourably than a third party because of a protected characteristic

Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination in the workplace occurs if your employer applies a provision, criteria or practice which is discriminatory

Discrimination arising from disability

Discrimination arising from disability occurs when you are treated unfavourably by your employer because of a disability that you have

Failure to make reasonable adjustments

This form of discrimination occurs if your employer fails to comply with their duty to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace for your disability

Harassment

Harassment in the workplace occurs where you are subjected to unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating your dignity or causing an offensive workplace environment for you. Sexual harassment occurs if you are subjected to unwanted sexual conduct which has a similar purpose or effect.

Read more about harassment in the workplace

Victimisation

Victimisation in the workplace occurs when you are subjected to a detriment or dismissed because you have undertake a ‘protected act’

Read more about victimisation in the workplace

Gender reassignment (absence from work)

This form of discrimination occurs if you are absent from work due to gender reassignment and you are treated less favourably than you would have been treated if your absence was for sickness or injury, or because you absence was for some other reason

Who can sue for discrimination in the workplace?

Job applicants, employees, workers, contractors, police officers and partners (among others) are protected from being discriminated against in the workplace because of a protected characteristic that they (or a third party) possess.

Call Redmans today to discuss your employment law matter

Call Redmans on 020 3397 3603 or email us at enquiries@redmans.co.uk to discuss your employment law matter.

Alternatively, you can call Chris Hadrill, the partner responsible for the employment department, on 020 3397 3601 or email him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk.

Call us

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    312 Reviews

    Anonymous

    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 1 day ago

    Anonymous

    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 2 days ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 4 days ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    ""

    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    William A

    Second time I have had to use Redmans. They did not disappoint. They are fast , efficient and friendly. I have already recommended them to friends and colleagues. I hope I dont have to use them again but if I have to , they are the solicitors for me.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Fleeta C

    Great service with tantastic communications. The solicitor responsible is extremely knowledgeable and was responsible for bringing a timely and desired solution.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Veronica M

    Extremely helpful, starting from a request for advice at very short notice, to dedicating time for me to understand and review all documents thoroughly.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Sophie R

    Very efficient and professional service. Chris was very empathetic, knowledgeable and personable. Highly recommended.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Melanie M

    Very happy with the detailed advice provided from Redmans. They also helped me to secure a higher settlement than originally offered by my employer and were extremely diligent. I first spoke with Chris at relatively short notice and then Sacha dealt with my case. Would definitely recommend and use again in the future if needed.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans helped me with a work related issue, which was resolved quickly and professionally. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 1 month ago

    James F

    Great people, really friendly and professional helped with everything that I needed.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anusha S

    My case was handled by Sacha who was very thorough and helped me to achieve a good outcome with my employer. Sacha was very personal, professional and helped me during quite a stressful time, so I am hugely grateful to her and to Redmans. This was my first time engaging with a law firm so I wasn't sure what to expect but I can definitely say that it was a good experience overall and I ended up better off due to having the help of an experienced and proactive solicitor on my side.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Diane P

    So grateful that I contacted Redmans to deal with my Redundancy Agreement. Everything from the initial call to the completion of the matter was professional, efficient and effective. I was listened to, had everything explained simply and kept informed of every step. I received super advice and the costs were very competitive. I would highly recommend them to anyone seeking similar help. First class service - thank you

    Posted 1 month ago

    Chris L

    It was a very efficient and effective service - Would recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Exceeded my expectations. Very professional and proactive. I highly recommend them.

    Posted 1 month ago