Are you facing a type of discrimination in the workplace? If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone. An alarming study conducted in 2019 found that around 38% of people faced a type of discrimination at work.
As the average person spends one-third of their life at work, it’s important for the working environment to be healthy. Therefore, our solicitors outline the four main types of discrimination in the workplace to help employees and employers understand what type of behaviour is acceptable in the workplace.
If you’re a victim of a type of discrimination in the workplace, we encourage you to seek professional legal advice. An employment solicitor can help you identify whether you have a claim and what your options are. For any further questions, please don’t hesitate to visit our employment law page or contact one of our trusted solicitors directly on 020 3007 5500.
Four types of discrimination in the workplace.
Initially, it can be helpful to review you and your neighbour’s title deeds. These will indicate where the boundary line sits, but title deeds aren’t always accurate. Similarly, looking at the position of hedges and fences likely won’t be enough.
If you do end up in court, you’re expected to have evidence compiled by experts. And when it comes to boundary disputes, the experts are chartered surveyors and chartered land surveyors.
Surveyors will look at multiple information sources, including:
Measuring the land itself
Checking the title deeds and any plans attached
They will use this information to compile a boundary report, which is used to support any arguments in a dispute.
1. Direct discrimination.
Direct discrimination is where somebody has been treated differently or worse than another employee due to an underlying reason. These underlying reasons may be someone’s age, race, religion or beliefs.
An example is if an older employee is not allowed to work as part of a social media marketing team because the company feels they’re too old to understand the concepts, despite having the same level of expertise as younger employees. This example is a direct form of discrimination against this more senior employee due to their age.
Direct discrimination falls into three separate categories. The categories include:
Ordinary direct discrimination. This type of discrimination is where somebody is treated differently because of a protected characteristic someone possesses. Ordinary direct discrimination is the only type of direct discrimination which may be lawful, but only if it is ‘objectively justifiable’.
Direct discrimination by association. This type of discrimination is where somebody is treated differently because of a protected characteristic possessed by someone they’re associated with. An example of this type of discrimination is someone being uninvited from work social activities because they’re friends with a colleague who possesses a protected characteristic.
Direct discrimination by perception. This type of discrimination is where someone is treated differently because of a protected characteristic other people think they possess, regardless of whether the perception is correct.
Direct discrimination can be an intentional or unintentional act. However, regardless of whether there was an intention to discriminate, you can still make a claim against the perpetrator. In discrimination cases, the most important focus is how the victim feels rather than whether the perpetrator meant it in that way.
Indirect discrimination is a less obvious type of discrimination than direct discrimination and is usually unintentional.
This type of discrimination in the workplace occurs when a company puts a plan or rule in place, which isn’t discriminatory but puts people with specific characteristics at a disadvantage. An example may be setting a minimum height requirement for a job where height is not relevant. This example discriminates against women (and some specific ethnic groups) who are generally shorter.
Harassment is when somebody is conveying negative behaviour towards a fellow employee, which humiliates, intimidates or excludes them. This type of discrimination in the workplace is a violation of somebody’s dignity and creates a toxic working environment for that person.
Common examples of harassment include:
Gossiping and spreading rumours about someone
Asking inappropriate questions
It’s not a defence for the harasser to say that they didn’t mean their behaviour to upset the victim. With harassment, the victim’s feelings towards the action are more important than how the harasser saw the conduct.
Want to know more about harassment? Please visit our harassment page.
The final type of discrimination in the workplace is victimisation. Victimisation is where somebody becomes a victim of harmful behaviour because they have done (or because it’s suspected that they have done or may do) one of the following things in good faith:
Made an allegation of discrimination
Supported a complaint of discrimination
Gave evidence relating to a complaint about discrimination
Raised a grievance concerning equality or discrimination
Did anything else for (or in connection with) the Equality Act, such as bringing an employment tribunal claim of discrimination.
By reporting this type of behaviour, you could be a victim to victimisation through being labelled a ‘troublemaker’, being left out and ignored, being denied a promotion, or being made redundant. However, you don’t need to fear victimisation because you’re protected by the Equality Act 2010.
Want to know more about victimisation? Please visit our victimisation page.
When is a type of discrimination in the workplace lawful?
In particular circumstances, direct and indirect discrimination may be lawful if the employer can objectively justify their actions. For example, a food delivery company may bring in a general rule that all the food deliverers must have a valid UK drivers licence. In this instance, people who have disabilities (one of the protected characteristics) may be at a disadvantage as in some cases, as a disability may prohibit someone’s ability to drive.
In this instance, it’s not discrimination for this company to require a valid UK driving licence as driving is an essential part of the job.
If you’re unsure whether you’re a victim of discrimination, we encourage you to seek professional legal advice. In many cases, there’s a fine line between an act being lawful or discriminatory. Our solicitors will help you determine whether you have a claim and what your options are in taking one forward.
Why contact our solicitors about a type of discrimination in the workplace?
Workplace discrimination evokes powerful emotional responses as you are not treated fairly due to the very fibre of your being. Unfortunately, it’s these powerful emotions that can cloud your judgement and cause avoidable yet costly mistakes in your case. As a result, instructing a solicitor can ensure you get the justice you deserve. Furthermore, discrimination cases go further than justice for you, as each win plays a part in a much larger movement of stamping out discrimination for good.
In any discrimination case, our employment solicitors will always first require an untimed initial consultation. This initial consultation will guarantee the following:
Unlimited time to sit down with our solicitor to discuss the details of your discrimination case and ask any questions you might have.
A clear overview of your legal standpoint and available options.
An upfront time and fee estimate for your case.
Our solicitors have a thorough understanding of the procedure for bringing discrimination cases to the employment tribunal. For more information, please visit ouremployment law pageor call one of our solicitors directly on020 3007 5500.