Feeling discriminated against in the workplace can be an overwhelming and unpleasant experience for employees and, left unchecked, can lead to injustices such as unequal pay and biased promotions. However, if you feel that you receive unfair treatment based on aspects of your identity such as your gender or sexual identity, there are plenty of steps you can take to challenge such injustices.
1. Complain Informally To Your Employer
It is usually a good idea to complain informally to your employer before taking any legal action. Indeed, employers may not be aware of the issue and may be keen to make immediate changes to any policies or processes that you have flagged. This is a much quicker and less emotionally-taxing process than taking legal action.
Usually, HR departments and managers are trained on how to respond to discrimination in the workplace, so you should be able to chat to them openly and honestly about your worries.
2. Check Whether Unlawful Discrimination Has Taken Place (According To Equality Act 2010)
If you’re dissatisfied with the way in which your employer responded to your informal complaint, you may wish to raise a formal grievance. Before doing this, however, it is a good idea to double check that your problem amounts to discrimination according to the Equality Act 2010.
The law stipulates that workers cannot be treated unfairly or different because they have a so-called ‘protected characteristic’. These characteristics include factors such as age, marital status, pregnancy, religion, sex, race, or sexual orientation. You can also make a complaint if you feel you are being treated unfairly because you have challenged discrimination before, someone believes you have a protected characteristic (even though you do not), or because of another person’s protected characteristic.
3. Raise A Grievance Using Your Employer’s Grievance Procedures
Employers should have procedures in place for employees wishing to raise a grievance. This can usually be found on your intranet or employment handbook. As part of the grievance, you could ask the company to apologise to you, take action to stop the discrimination, financially compensate you, alter their policies, or rethink their decisions if you feel you have been unfairly dismissed, for example.
You should attempt to reach a settlement in this way before going to a tribunal, as it tends to be the most effective way of achieving your goals.
4. Make A Claim To The Employment Tribunal
If none of the above work for you, you can take your employer to a tribunal. A tribunal is a free hearing that represents a less formal procedure than taking them to court.
Hearings can least a few days and decisions can take months to come back. It is also important to note that tribunals can only award complainants certain things such as employee compensation, recommendations that your employer takes action, or a statement explaining the ways in which your employer has broken the law.
Contact Bowsers today for expert help and advice if you feel that you are being discriminated against in the workplace.