Discrimination law is a complex area of employment law. As an employer, it can be time-consuming to keep up to date with this complicated issue, as well as costly if you get it wrong. The employment solicitors at Wilford Smith are here to help.
All employers are required to abide by discrimination laws that aim to ensure that all employees are afforded the same opportunities in the workplace, as well protecting workers' dignity and allowing them to make complaints without fearing consequences as a result.
The anti-discrimination legislation in force in the UK is robust. It has the potential to award unlimited damages in cases where it is shown that an employee has suffered discrimination at work. As a result, it is essential that employers facing such accusations have the support of experienced and knowledgeable employment solicitors to help conduct an effective defence. To discuss your circumstances, get in touch with us today on 01709 828 044 or complete our online enquiry form.
Experienced Discrimination Solicitors
The employment solicitors at Wilford Smith have a proven track record in successfully defending discrimination claims on behalf of employers across all commercial sectors. Our solicitors will discuss your circumstances in detail as part of our uniquely client-focused service. From the earliest stage, we will work on your behalf to develop a strategy to ensure matters are concluded as efficiently as possible, protecting your position and reputation in the process.
What constitutes unlawful discrimination at work?
Anti-discrimination provisions are contained in the Equality Act 2010. Under the legislation, employers have a legal obligation to treat their employees (including former employees) and job applicants fairly. Employers cannot discriminate, harass or victimise on the grounds of:
- Marriage or civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Sexual orientation
- Gender reassignment
- Religion or belief
These are known as 'protected characteristics'.
Unlawful discrimination in the workplace can occur in different forms:
This is the most obvious form of discrimination whereby an employee is deliberately treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic.
Discrimination by association
This is when an employee is treated less favourably because they are associated with another person who holds a protected characteristic.
Indirect discrimination is where an employer implements a provision, criteria or practice, which applies to all employees; however, it puts those who hold a particular protected characteristic at a disadvantage compared to their colleagues.
It is not uncommon for employers to implement such policies or requirements given the nature of their business. The solicitors at Wilford Smith regularly act on behalf of employers to successfully defend themselves following accusations of indirect discrimination by showing that the policy in question is proportionate. Our team can support you in producing clear evidence to this effect and demonstrate that you have balanced the needs of your business against any adverse impact the policy has had on individual employees.
Victimisation occurs as a result of an employer mistreating their employee after the employee has made a complaint under the Equality Act 2010. Employers are obliged to take reasonable steps to protect their employees where they have previously claimed to have suffered from discrimination. If they fail to do so, they may be vulnerable to legal action.
The terms' bullying' and 'harassment' are often used interchangeably. However, ' bullying' does not appear within the legislation, which focuses specifically on harassment. Under the Equality Act 2010, harassment is defined as unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic and which violates a person's dignity or has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
Contact our Discrimination Solicitors
The employment solicitors at Wilford Smith regularly take instruction from employers across England and Wales. Whatever the nature of the claim, we will work tirelessly on your behalf to construct the most robust defence possible while our skills in advocacy and litigation mean our lawyers are excellently placed to provide representation at Employment Tribunals. As well as helping you defend claims, we can also work with you to minimise the risk of unlawful discrimination within your business, through the preparation of policies and training.
To arrange an appointment, call our team of employment lawyers today on 01709 828 044 or complete our online contact form and we will be back in touch.