Do you believe your are being unfairly discriminated against?
The Equality Act 2010 outlined several Protected Characteristics and made it against the law to
discriminate on the grounds of these Protected Characteristics which are:
4. Gender Reassignment
5. Marriage and Civil Partnerships
6. Religion or Belief
7. Sexual Orientation
8. Pregnancy and Maternity
Discrimination can be Direct or Indirect.
Direct Discrimination – is where someone is treated differently or worse because of a Protected
Characteristic e.g. a woman doesn’t get promoted because she is pregnant.
Indirect Discrimination - is a bit harder. This is where there is a practice, policy or rule which applies
to everyone in the same way but has a worse effect on some people (with a protected characteristic)
than others, for example; there may be a clause in a contract that says you may have to travel at
short notice. You may be a woman with young children, and this could place you at a disadvantage
and it also places women generally at a disadvantage as they are often carers of young children. This
clause in a contract maybe challenged or if enforced be Indirect Sex Discrimination.
Do you need to have worked for an employer for a period of time? - An employee does not need
any service qualification to make a claim for Discrimination. In fact, does not need to be an
employee at all as any job adverts must not discriminate and the employer must not discriminate
during the recruitment process e.g. not offer a job because a woman is pregnant or fail to make
reasonable adjustments if a candidate is disabled and is not offered a job.
Disability Discrimination Lawyer
A disability is defined as someone who has a physical or mental impairment and that impairment has
a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day to day activities.
Some impairments are automatically covered. These are:
Cancer, including skin growths that must be removed before they become cancerous.
• A visual impairment ie certified as blind, severely sight impaired, sight impaired or partially
• Multiple Sclerosis
• HIV infection – even if there are no symptoms
• A severe long-term disfigurement
You have an impairment if your physical or mental abilities are reduced in some way. This could be a
medical condition e.g. arthritis, but an impairment doesn’t have to be a diagnosed medical condition
e.g. if you are suffering from stress you may have mental impairments like difficulty concentrating or
physical impairments like extreme tiredness or difficulty sleeping. If you don’t have a medical
diagnosis, you will need medical evidence to show that the impairment is substantial, long term and
has a detrimental effect on day to day activities.
Addictions to alcohol, nicotine or any other substance is not a disability but there is an impairment
caused by it e.g. liver disease.
A long-term effect is something that lasts at least a year.
A substantial effect on day to day activities is something which is not trivial (stating the obvious I
know). This could be:
• Taking longer with everyday tasks e.g. getting dressed, going to the toilet etc
• Finding it difficult to go out on your own because you have a phobia, physical restriction or
• Can’t concentrate watching TV, reading a newspaper etc as you have a mental health
Employers should make reasonable adjustments wherever possible and these should be agreed and
reviewed. Failure to make reasonable adjustments could leave the employer open to a claim in an
Employment Tribunal for discrimination. An employer does not have to create a job that isn’t there
or make something up to accommodate the employer but it could be something like providing a
specific piece of equipment, a parking space nearer the door, reallocating work, allowing regular
breaks, providing a mentor etc
Sex Discrimination Lawyer
If you are treated differently because you are a man or woman this is sex discrimination. It applies to
men and women of any age.
Discrimination can be direct or indirect. For example: direct discrimination would be if a man was
promoted despite a woman being more qualified for the job (or vice versa).
Discrimination can be direct or indirect. For example: direct discrimination would be if a man was
promoted despite a woman being more qualified for the job (or vice versa).
A claim can be made if you are not an employee if you apply for a job but are turned down and you
have evidence to believe that the reason was based on your sex and not the ability to do the job.
It is also against the Equality Act if you are discriminated against for Gender Reassignment or
transitioning from one sex to another.
Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Lawyer
Pregnancy and maternity are treated differently under the Equality Act 2010. If you are in the
‘protected period’ you have greater protection. The protected period runs from the start of your
pregnancy to the end of your maternity leave. If you’re not entitled to maternity leave, for example
because you're an agency worker rather than an employee, the protected period ends 2 weeks after
It counts as pregnancy discrimination if you’re treated unfavourably because you:
• have a pregnancy-related illness
• are on maternity leave
Unfavourable treatment because you’ve taken maternity leave is pregnancy discrimination. Less
favourable treatment because you’re breastfeeding is a form of sex discrimination.
It counts as sex discrimination if you experience unfavourable treatment outside of the protected
period because you’ve had a child. It’s also sex discrimination if your employer treats you less
favourably outside of the protected period because you have postnatal depression.
An example of direct discrimination would be counting a woman’s sickness absence for trigger
points if she is absent for morning sickness. An example of Indirect discrimination could be asking all
employees to work set hours as this is a workplace practice that could discriminate against women
who are pregnant, breastfeeding or on maternity or returning from maternity leave.
Race discrimination lawyer
Race discrimination is when you are treated unfairly because of your race, or because of the race of
someone you are connected with, such as your partner.
‘Race’ includes colour, nationality, citizenship and ethnic or national origins.
Race discrimination can be direct or indirect. It may also take the form
of harassment or victimisation.
Race discrimination does not need to be deliberate. Someone may be discriminating against you
without realising it or meaning to, but this might still count as discrimination.
It is direct race discrimination to treat someone less favourably than someone else would be treated
in the same circumstances, because of race. To prove direct race discrimination, it will help if you
can give an example of someone from a different racial group who, in similar circumstances, has
been, or would have been, treated more favourably than you. Racist abuse and harassment are
forms of direct discrimination.
One example of direct race discrimination is where you are from a particular racial group and an
employer refuses to appoint you because, the employer says, you ‘wouldn’t fit in’ or ‘the customers
It’s also direct discrimination if an employer turns you down for a job because of your connection
with someone else of a particular racial group. For example, an employer might turn you down for a
job because your partner is Afro-Caribbean.
It is indirect race discrimination to have a rule, policy or practice which people of a particular racial,
ethnic or national group are less likely to be able to meet than other people, and this places them at
Examples of indirect race discrimination might include:
• an employer insisting that candidates for a job should have UK qualifications
• the banning of wearing headscarves, or insisting on the wearing of skirts, at work or at
• an employer insisting that someone has English as a first language.
If you think that indirect race discrimination might have occurred, you may be able to make a
complaint about it. However, if the person or organisation you are complaining about can show that
there are genuine reasons for the rule, policy or practice and that it has nothing to do with race, this
won't count as discrimination.
For example, an employer may be able to show why an employee needs to have gained their
qualifications in the UK in order to work in a particular role. If they can do this, there won't have
been any discrimination.
Age Discrimination Lawyer
Age discrimination is where you’re treated unfairly because of your age or because your part of a
particular age group.
Age group means people of the same age or people in a particular age range.
Here are some examples of age groups.
You’re 25 years old. You could belong to one of the following age groups:
• 25 year olds
• under 30s
• over 20s
• people in their 20’s
• young adults.
You’re 78 years old. You could belong to one of the following age groups:
• 78 year olds
• over 70s
• senior citizens.
It’s unlawful to discriminate against you because of the age of someone you’re with or someone you
know. This could be a parent, child, partner or friend.
This is called discrimination by association.
It’s unlawful if someone discriminates against you because they think you belong to a certain age
group even though you don’t. This is called discrimination by perception
Indirect age discrimination.
Many examples of age discrimination during the recruitment process
are instances of indirect discrimination.
This occurs when there is a policy or practice that applies to all workers. But the policy or practice
treats people of a certain age less favourably than others.
So, if a business is looking to hire someone for a new role—but they want someone with at least ten
Unless they can prove that this restrictive handicap is for appropriate and necessary reasons—such
as for health and safety or for the business operations to run effectively—they are likely to face an
employment tribunal claim for age discrimination from younger job seekers, such as graduates fresh
out of university.
Think of indirect discrimination as trying to treat everyone the same, but someone or members of a
certain group suffer from this equal treatment due to how the treatment interacts with their
protected characteristic. This applies to all types of Protected Characteristics.
Also, there is harassment. Again, this applies to all Protected Characteristics.
Calling an employee, a nickname because of their age? For example, Old Joe or Young Sally? Is
discrimination against their age in the form of harassment.
Any conduct based on a protected characteristic (such as age) that makes someone feel intimidated,
shamed, upset, or humiliated—is harassment.
In addition, there is victimisation.
If an employee suffers “detrimental treatment” after they lodge a grievance (make a complaint) at
work related to discrimination, it’s victimisation.
This applies whether they lodged the grievance on behalf of themselves or a colleague.
It’s also victimisation to subject someone to detrimental treatment if they’ve made a legal tribunal
Victimisation is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
Religion or Belief Discrimination Lawyer
What’s meant by religion?
You can be discriminated against because you belong to an organised religion, for example:
Religion also means smaller religions or sects like Rastafarianism, Scientology or Paganism.
You can also be discriminated against because you belong to a specific denomination or sect within a
religion - for example:
• Protestants, Methodists or Jehovah’s Witnesses within Christianity
• Sunnis or Shi'as within Islam
• Orthodox or Reform Judaism.
If necessary, it’s the courts who decide if something is a religion. They will look at whether
something has a clear structure and belief system to decide if it’s a religion under the law.
The Equality Act protects you against discrimination because of your religious beliefs.
Religious belief means the belief in a religion’s central articles of faith, for example, within
Christianity that Jesus is the Son of God. It also means beliefs which exist within a religion, but which
are not shared by everybody within that religion.
Here are examples of religious beliefs:
• the belief of some Christians that you should wear a cross as a symbol of your faith
• the belief within Islam that a woman should cover her head or her whole body
• the belief in creationism or intelligent design.
What if you don’t have any religion or religious beliefs?
You’re also protected against discrimination under the Equality Act if you don’t belong to any
religion or have any religious beliefs- for example, if you’re an Atheist.
What’s meant by philosophical belief?
A philosophical belief is a non-religious belief and includes things like humanism, secularism and
Something can be a philosophical belief if you strongly and genuinely believe in it and it concerns an
important aspect of human life and behaviour. The courts have said that the belief in man-made
climate change and spiritualism are philosophical beliefs. But a political belief is not a philosophical
The belief must also be acceptable in a democratic society and not conflict with the fundamental
rights of others.
There has been a lot of media coverage recently when an Employment Tribunal ruled that Ethical
Veganism is a philosophical belief.
Sexual orientation discrimination lawyer
Discrimination because of sexual orientation is when you are treated unfairly because of your sexual
orientation. Sexual orientation is also known as sexuality.
Your sexual orientation depends on whether you are sexually attracted towards:
• your own sex. This means gay and lesbian people
• the opposite sex. This means heterosexual people
• the same and the opposite sex. This means bisexual people.
Discrimination because of sexual orientation can be direct or indirect. It can also take the form
of victimisation or harassment.
It's also illegal to discriminate against you because:
• of the sexual orientation of someone you know, such as family or friends, rather than
because of your own sexual orientation. This is known as discrimination by association
• you are believed to be of a particular sexual orientation, even, when you are not. We
recently won an Employment Tribunal case on these grounds with our client being awarded
£35000. The case can be read here
• or gender reassignment.
Direct discrimination because of sexual orientation
It is direct discrimination to treat you less favourably because of your sexual orientation than
someone of a different sexual orientation would be treated in the same circumstances.
It is also direct discrimination to treat you less favourably because of the sexual orientation of
someone you know, such as a family member or friend (discrimination by association).
To prove direct discrimination, it will help if you can give an example of someone from a different
sexual orientation who, in similar circumstances, has been, or would have been, treated more
favourably than you.
Abuse and harassment because of sexual orientation are forms of direct discrimination.
Indirect discrimination because of sexual orientation
It is indirect sexual orientation discrimination to have a rule, policy or practice which someone of a
particular sexual orientation is less likely to be able to meet, and this places them at a disadvantage
to people of a different sexual orientation.
An example of indirect discrimination because of sexual orientation is where a club has a policy of
offering free membership to all husbands and wives of its members, but not to civil partners.
If you think that indirect sexual orientation discrimination might have occurred, you may be able to
make a complaint about it. However, if the person or organisation you are complaining about can
show that there are genuine reasons for the rule, policy or practice and that it has nothing to do with
sexual orientation, this won't count as discrimination.
If you complain about sexual orientation discrimination, you shouldn’t be victimised because you
complained. This means that you shouldn’t be treated unfairly just because you’ve made a
Making a complaint includes taking a case to court, going to an employment tribunal or standing up
for your rights in some other way.
You can get protection if you are victimised because you’ve made a complaint about sexual
orientation discrimination. You can also get protection from discrimination for helping someone else
to make a complaint about sexual orientation discrimination, for example, by giving evidence as a
witness in court.
Sexual orientation discrimination in employment and training
It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because of your sexual orientation. This
includes all employers, no matter how few people they employ. Most workers, including employees,
agency workers, trainees and those who are self-employed have protection from sexual orientation
discrimination at work. This includes:
• recruitment and selection
• training, pay and benefits
• redundancy and dismissal
• terms and conditions of work.
Here is an example of sexual orientation discrimination:
An employer allows a man whose female partner is pregnant to take annual leave so that he can
go to ante-natal appointments with her.
The employer refuses a similar request from a woman whose female partner is pregnant. This is
likely to be direct discrimination because of sexual orientation.
There are some circumstances where an employer is allowed to treat you unfavourably because of
your sexual orientation. If an employer can show that you need to be of a particular sexual
orientation in order to do a certain job, they can insist on employing someone of that sexual
orientation. This is known as an occupational requirement and does not count as discrimination.
An example of an occupational requirement is where the employers of a religious Minister insist that
they can't employ a transsexual person or a gay man in order to avoid offending the religious
convictions of the religion's followers.
Marriage and civil partnership discrimination lawyer
What’s meant by marriage and civil partnership?
Marriage and civil partnership are protected characteristics under the Equality Act.
You're protected against unlawful discrimination if you're:
• legally married, or
• in a civil partnership.
When are you legally married?
You’re legally married if your union is recognised as a marriage under UK law, even if you didn’t get
married in the UK.
When are you in a civil partnership?
A civil partnership means a registered civil partnership under the Civil Partnership Act 2004. This
also includes civil partnerships registered outside the UK.
When can you complain about marriage and civil partnership discrimination?
You can only complain about marriage and civil partnership discrimination at work. If you're treated
unfairly outside the workplace because you're married or in a civil partnership, it's not unlawful
discrimination under the Equality Act.
Are you protected if you’re engaged or separated?
Only people who are married or in a civil partnership are protected against discrimination on the
basis of marriage and civil partnership.
You’re not protected if you’re:
• engaged to be married
• divorced or your civil partnership has been dissolved
• living with someone as a couple
• someone thinks you’re married or in a civil partnership even though you’re not.
However, if you’re separated, you’re still protected, as your marriage or civil partnership has not
been legally dissolved.
Please call 03300 552 856
If you wish to discuss your case further, please contact us on 01904 755222 or email using the contact form on the website.