Seek justice for workplace discrimination
Bullying, harassment, favouritism, and unfair dismissal can harm your wellbeing at work – as well as your career progression. If you feel you aren’t being treated like everyone else, turn to Optimal Solicitors.
It’s time to fight unfairness at work
Have you been treated differently (and negatively) due to race, gender, religion, a disability, a pregnancy, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristic? There are laws to prevent it. Optimal Solicitors will assist you in bringing a claim against the company for failing to comply with the relevant legislation.
Carefully and quickly, we can find out what happened and explain what you’re entitled to. Our solicitors can help you file a complaint against an employer for any discrimination or harassment suffered.
We will assist you in starting with a grievance, if necessary, and take it all the way to an employment tribunal. The case, the paperwork, and liaising with other legal teams is managed entirely by us. Trust Optimal Solicitors to seek the outcome you deserve, and make a lasting change.
Support for discrimination in the workplace
What are the signs of workplace discrimination?
The central idea is ‘prejudice’. This means that someone at work is treating you less favourably, based on a characteristic that is protected.
They might dismiss you, demote you, pass you over for promotion, or it could even be as simple as ignoring you or delegating duties that they should be doing themselves. Work discrimination can be verbal, mental, or physical. It can even start before you’re employed.
Optimal Solicitors take a holistic view of everything you may have faced so far, before uncovering the best grounds for a legal case.
What types of discrimination at work are there?
Although they vary immensely, we’ve dealt with many similar cases of workplace discrimination during our years of legal work. Broadly speaking, there are four key types:
- Direct discrimination – You have suffered unfair or less favourable treatment due to a ‘protected characteristic’ – in other words, your race, age, faith, marital status, disability, or gender (including reassignment). A manager might force you to work Sundays, for instance, regardless of the fact that you’re a practising Christian. Another might deny you a client-facing role because you aren’t white. This extends to pregnancy too – anyone who can’t get or hold a job because they are a woman, are taking or may take maternity leave, or have recently given birth.
- Indirect discrimination – This involves the same treatment based on the characteristics listed above, but applies to a ‘law, provision, or criterion’ that singles out a group of people. It’s often included in a contract or set of rules. One example might be banning a particular kind of hairstyle at work, like afros or cornrows, that disproportionately affects black staff. Another could be to only place women behind the counter at a fast food store, while men work in the kitchen. If there are limitations (such as height, weight, or short-notice travel), then they must be for the safety of the workforce or the genuine benefit of the business.
- Harassment – Here we find unwanted conduct from a person who doesn’t like your protected characteristic. It’s direct verbal or physical assault, as well as anything humiliating. Sexual harassment is also included in this category. The offender can’t claim they were just joking or trying to include you in the team; if you felt threatened, degraded, or bullied, you may be able to make a claim.
- Victimisation – Unfortunately, some employers and teammates punish those who speak out. But this is often grounds for a victimisation claim – you may have suffered, at their hand, from raising any of the issues we’ve discussed so far. If you had made an official complaint about discrimination in the past, for instance, and haven’t received a wage increase for several years since (while similar workers have), you’ve potentially been victimised.
How much can you sue for employment discrimination?
Have you been dismissed, demoted, or not been considered for a promotion which you believe you were suitable for? Optimal Solicitors can look at your case from every angle, and determine what you may have lost financially from discriminatory practices.
Your current or former employer might then be liable to pay for loss of earnings and injury to feelings. We’ve helped countless people get what they’re due – even if you think the case may be hard to prove, it’s often worth reaching out.
Is there a time limit for claiming?
If you want to file a complaint against an employer, you need to act fast. The majority of claims must be made no later than three months after the incident happened.
If discrimination is more consistent or widespread, you may have more leeway. Part of our work involves assessing where separate acts of discrimination link and show a pattern, which may extend the time frame. However, it is recommended that you get in touch as soon as you can.
How you’re protected by the Equality Act 2010
You already have protections in place against unfairness at work, found in the Equality Act 2010. It brings together 116 separate laws against discrimination into a single Act, and outlines what’s classed as a ‘protected characteristic’. Modern gender dynamics are also covered – for instance, choosing to live as a man if you’re a biological woman, without having surgery.
What laws are included? Generally, there are nine key pieces of former legislation:
- The Equal Pay Act 1970
- The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- The Race Relations Act 1976
- The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
- The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
- The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
- The Equality Act 2006, Part 2
- The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
Optimal Solicitors have extensive knowledge of the Equality Act 2010. We’ll figure out how it applies to your situation, and compile all the right evidence to show that it may have been breached.
Advice on discrimination arising from disability
The Equality Act 2010 states that a disability can be mental or physical, and has a long-term, substantial effect which adversely affects the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Here are a few disability discrimination examples:
- After being diagnosed with a brain tumour, your employer lets you go. They say they can’t trust you to carry out orders, meet people, or stay organised.
- You have a limp from a car accident that occurred years ago. Co-workers frequently make fun of it, and you’re moved away from customer-facing tasks in case they see.
- As an anaemia sufferer, you get persistent fatigue. Your employer doesn’t listen and repeatedly brings up your slightly slower output in your performance reviews. It means you never get promoted.
Discrimination arising from disability, of course, doesn’t just have to single you out. The same rules apply for indirect disability discrimination. An example of this would be having a complete ban on wheelchair users at a desk job, or dismissing anyone with HIV as a company policy.
We’ve helped thousands, like you, get the best outcome
What can you do about it?
We’re here to help you in any way we can. Optimal Solicitors are specialists in unfair dismissal, as well as many other aspects of employment law. By moving quickly and discreetly, we make sure you have the best chance at building a robust claim – one that holds up should we have to seek employment tribunal action.
Throughout, we stay transparent so that you’re aware of every step we’re taking on your behalf. Plus, we can arrange for translators and interpreters if English is not your first language. So, if you believe that you have been treated unfairly at work due to a protected characteristic, get in touch as soon as you can.
How to report and prove workplace discrimination
Meanwhile, consider the following:
- Raise a grievance. This might be to a manager or other individual in a senior role that you trust. Explain what has occurred, why it upsets you, and how quick action can resolve it.
- Arrange a meeting with your employer. If they refuse, it may be grounds for a more serious discrimination claim.
- Keep a diary, recording the incidents with dates, times, and names of any possible witnesses. You may also want to consider who might support you by confirming your version of events with a statement.
- Check for any emails or company material that may be used as evidence.