Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment
At Lincoln based LincsLaw Solicitors we understand how problems at work affect every part of your life and can impact on your home and family. Suffering discrimination, bullying and harassment at work can be especially devastating, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and take back some control over your workplace situation.
Discrimination is, essentially, when someone is treated unfairly or less favourably than others due to some personal attribute. An individual or a whole group of people can suffer discrimination. If that discrimination is due to sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnicity, nationality, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, age or disability, then it may well be unlawful.
There is no requirement that you have to be employed by an employer for any particular time before you receive protection from discrimination. You can bring a claim before the Employment Tribunal if you believe you were discriminated against regarding your application for employment or on your very first day at work.
Discrimination can take various forms:
- Direct discrimination where someone is treated less fairly than others. Examples the lawyers at LincsLaw Solicitors have dealt with include:
- an employee who told her employer she was pregnant, and was then immediately removed from the overtime rota.
- an employee originally from Nigeria who was refused the same training opportunities as his British colleagues.
- Indirect Discrimination where an employer puts arrangements or rules in place resulting in persons with a particular characteristic being at a disadvantage. Examples the lawyers at LincsLaw Solicitors have dealt with include:
- Training opportunities being offered to a particular grade of employees (predominately men) which were not offered to other grades made up of predominately female staff.
- Harassment is where a member of staff suffers unwanted behaviour or attention due to their protected characteristic. Please see our Bullying and Harassment section below.
- Victimisation is treating someone unfairly because they have made a complaint about discrimination or harassment. Examples the lawyers at LincsLaw Solicitors have dealt with include:
- an employee who supported his Polish coworkers in their complaint about discrimination, was subsequently subjected to wholly unjustified disciplinary action.
- Failure to make reasonable adjustments relates only to people who are disabled and is an additional level of protection and assistance for disabled people in the workplace. Essentially, an employer is required to make any reasonable adjustments necessary to enable to remove barriers or provide support to enable a disabled person to apply for or undertake a job role. Examples the lawyers at LincsLaw Solicitors have dealt with include:
- Obtaining appropriate breaks and personal facilities for an employee recovering from colon cancer.
- Obtaining compensation for a disabled employee who was made "redundant" just a few weeks before his kidney operation.
- Equal pay is failing to pay the same wage to staff doing the same work, work of equal value or work rated as being of "equivalent value" following a job evaluation study. An example the lawyers at LincsLaw Solicitors have dealt with include:
- An employee who, following a job evaluation exercise, was denied her increase in salary.
If you have suffered discrimination, you need expert, specialist, legal advice. For a free, no obligation discussion, contact the experienced employment lawyers at Lincoln based LincsLaw Solicitors.
Bullying and Harassment
All employees have a right to work in a safe environment. Unfortunately, many people suffer bullying and harassment in the workplace.
- offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour;
- abuse of authority which violates the dignity of staff;
- creating a hostile environment against a member of staff;
- the undermining, humiliation or injury of a member of staff.
If the bullying is due to the individual's sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnicity, nationality, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, age or disability, then it may well be actionable under the Equality Act 2010. Even if it not attributable to those particular characteristics, it is likely to be in breach of the Employer's policies and procedure and the individual's contract of employment.
Harassment is unwanted conduct which has the purpose of violating the dignity of a person or persons in the workplace or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment. Harassment can include making offensive or intimidating comments, unwanted sexual advances, making threats about job security, etc.
If you have suffered bullying and harassment at work, you need expert, specialist legal advice. For a free, no obligation discussion, contact the experienced employment lawyers at Lincoln based LincsLaw Solicitors.
What can you do to protect yourself?
We would ask anyone who is suffering bullying and harassment at work to contact us to discuss their situation. In addition, you may consider doing all or some of the following:-
- Keep a written record or diary of all incidents. Record the date, time and detail of the incident. Make a note of who anyone directly involved and any people who witnessed the incident.
- If appropriate, speak informally to the line manger/supervisor of the people involved and seek their assistance to stop the bullying and harassment. Keep a note of your conversation and the action they agreed to take.
- Obtain copies of any policies or procedures your employer has regarding equality or dignity at work, discrimination and/or bullying and harassment.
- Submit a formal complaint or grievance to your employer. We have a free downloadable guide to assist you.
Once again, we would state that if you have suffered bullying and harassment at work, you need expert, specialist legal advice. For a free, no obligation discussion, contact the experienced employment lawyers at Lincoln based LincsLaw Solicitors.