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Taking Action Against Discrimination

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 9 Oct 2019 | comments*Discuss
Discrimination Action Employment

Here are some of the steps you can take if you believe you are being discriminated against. Areas of discrimination that are covered in their own articles are: Race, Sex and Sexuality, Religion or Belief and Age. Although these areas are completely different, the general procedure to follow is largely the same.

Internal Proceedings Must Come First

If you believe that you are being discriminated against, there are a number of places you can turn to. It’s always best to take the issue up internally first, to talk to your line management or the human resources department, on an informal basis in the first place.

If you don’t get anywhere informally, then you should consider issuing a formal complaint and following the company’s grievance Policy, assuming there is one. Look at the Disciplinary Procedures article in our Working Conditions section for more guidance, and consider getting independent advice (see below) to find out what’s in store before you go ahead.

Tribunals and Courts

Obviously taking internal action, whether formally or informally, could be daunting, but the real point is that if you go straight to a tribunal or court, the fact that you did not try to resolve the issue internally in the first place could count against you.

If you are member of a trade union, then contact your representative; they will be an excellent source of advice and support. If you are not, consider becoming a member. A union will help you through the internal grievance procedures of your company if informal talks do not resolve the situation.

If following internal procedures doesn’t get you anywhere either, then you can make a claim of discrimination to your local Employment Tribunal. This is not something to undertake lightly so you are strongly advised to get independent expert advice before going down this road. You can find the nearest one on the Internet or in the phone book.

Impartial Advice

Before you go that far, however, you might want to find out more about the processes and what’s in store for you. Both the Citizens Advice Bureau and ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) offer free and impartial advice about employment issues. Again, local offices can be found online or in the phone book.

One body that you can approach for advice and help about most workplace discrimination situations is the Equality and Human Rights Commission. This organisation was formed in October 2007 and combined the work of three bodies:

  • Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)
  • Disability Rights Commission (DRC)
  • Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)

The name change also fits the expanded remit to look at all human rights issues, not just those that were previously covered by those three bodies. For age discrimination related issues, you can also turn to the charity Age UK, who will offer guidance on the age discrimination law and what it means for you.

You can also seek advice from a solicitor, although you might have to do a bit of phoning around to find someone who specialises in employment law. The other point is that is will cost money, although you may be able to get legal aid if you can show that you can’t afford legal advice. Many solicitors give the first consultation free or for a fixed fee so that you can find out what's in store without fear of building up large bills. They will tell you whether or not they do this when you ring up.

The Law Protects Everyone

Finally, it’s important to realise that all the Acts and Regulations covering discrimination don’t only protect the people being discriminated against, but also those who find themselves in a position where they are asked to discriminate. If a manager or employer tells you to do something that you believe will result in discrimination, then you have full rights to make a complaint through the same channels.

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My daughter is Type1 Diabetic, has Chronic Kidney Disease and Epilepsy and therefore comes under 3 Hospital Consultants. She works full time and her sickness record is impeccable BUT because she has these three conditions she has to attend hospital regularly for check-ups. He new boss has told her that she must take the time off as holiday to attend the appointments if she wants to be paid. Her argument is that these are not GP appointments (which she could arrange out of work hours) and does not have any say on the times she is given. She would prefer (obviously) that she didn't have any of these conditions in the first placeand would not have to attend any of these appointments. Please can anyone offer any help/info. Many thanks
ceejay - 9-Oct-19 @ 9:55 AM
@Pdp - I'm afraid there is little you can do if you are on a zero hours contract if your employer refuses to give you hours as the contract is flexible. A zero contract normally mean there is no obligation for employers to offer work, or for workers to likewise accept it. If you feel you have been discriminated against then as suggested in the article, one body that you can approach for advice and help about most workplace discrimination situations is the Equality and Human Rights Commission. I hope this helps.
WorkingRights - 19-May-15 @ 12:00 PM
I had got a job at subway walthamstow, was working there last three weeks. Last sunday the store manager asked me to take a heavy trolley almost 800 meters away from actual store to another store to deliver raw products to which i denied as i had inflamed shoulder and couldnt do it alone. So my store manager called another manager to infor the situation and the another manager spoke to me on phone and asked me to take the trolley. When i denied he started making racial slurs with my ethnic background. And warned me i will see you later. And since than i have not been given any working hours as its a zero hour contract. Hence i had to resign as i need get another job as i just cant sit home. What further action can i take against subway Thanks
Pdp - 15-May-15 @ 3:16 PM
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