Unlawful discrimination is one of the most common accusations brought by employees against their employers. If as an employer, you find yourself in this situation, you must take it seriously, investigate it and deal with it fairly and promptly. Failure to do so will almost inevitably land you in front of an employment tribunal, with all the negative consequences that this can carry for your business.
There are nine grounds, or ‘protected characteristics’, on which discrimination is unlawful: disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. There are also different types of discrimination, in particular: direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimisation, and harassment. Disability discrimination includes two further types: failure to make reasonable adjustments and unfavourable treatment arising from a disability.
There are also special statutory provisions in place to prevent fixed-term employees and part-time workers being treated less favourably than permanent employees and full-time workers.
Preventing the accusation arising in the first place is the ideal situation. You’ll find plenty of pragmatic guidance on elXtr to help you to achieve this, including how to put in place equal opportunities and dignity at work policies that you and your staff can follow to prevent inappropriate conduct taking place.
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