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There are a number of forms of discrimination. Discrimination and harassment on the basis of a ‘Protected Characteristic’ is illegal. The Protected Characteristics include age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, maternity and pregnancy, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or gender re-assignment.
Which Act prohibits discrimination?
The Equality Act 2010 protects you from discrimination. It provides that discrimination or unfair treatment based on a Protected Characteristic is unlawful.
What is discrimination?
Examples of discriminatory conduct may include: denying you promotion because you are disabled, are a woman; or are of a particular race, dismissing you because you are pregnant or on maternity leave, subjecting you to offensive comments or insults, during an interview being asked about child care commitments, paying one gender less than another gender doing the same job or disciplining someone because they have taken time off to care for a disabled child.
What is harassment?
Harassment is any unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive workplace environment. Unlawful harassment may involve conduct of a sexual nature or it may be related to one or more of the Protected Characteristics. Even if the harassment is not because of or related to one of the Protected Characteristics it is still unacceptable. It does not matter what the person’s motive is, it is the effect that matters.
Who is liable?
The individual discriminator and the employer can both be held liable for acts of discrimination in the workplace.
If you feel that you are being treated differently or unfavourably at work, we understand that taking the first step can be daunting. We can advise you on your options so that you can make an informed decision how you wish to proceed, if at all.
If you would like a confidential chat to see how we can help you, please contact us.