People are protected from discrimination and unfair treatment by the law. This means that employees (and workers) have the right to not be discriminated against and that employers must not treat job applicants or employees differently because they have certain characteristics which are protected by law.
If you think you have been discriminated against or would like advice regarding drafting an equality policy, our specialist discrimination lawyers can help.
People are protected from discrimination and unfair treatment by the law. This means that employees (and workers) have the right to not be discriminated against and that employers must not treat job applicants or employees differently because they have certain characteristics which are protected by law. If you think you have been discriminated against or would like advice regarding drafting an equality policy, our specialist discrimination lawyers can help.
Discrimination in the Workplace
Working in a fair and diverse environment that encourages equality can positively impact the way a business operates as well as attracting capable and considerate employees.
The law promotes equality by protecting certain characteristics. This means that a job applicant, employee or former employee cannot be treated less favourably because of, for example, their race, disability, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, age or because they are pregnant.
The law also sets out conduct that is prohibited in relation to those protected characteristics. Broadly speaking, these include:
- Direct discrimination – where a person treats another person less favourably on the grounds of a protected characteristic;
- Indirect discrimination – where an employer imposes a provision, criterion or practice (also known as a PCP) that places a person with a protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage in comparison to a person without that characteristic and the PCP cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim;
- Harassment – where a person engages in unwanted conduct in relation to a protected characteristic of another person, with the purpose or effect of violating that person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person;
- Victimisation – where a person subjects another person to a detriment because they have (or may have) alleged that they, or another person, has been discriminated against or harassed.
In addition to the above, a person may also be unlawfully discriminated against because they are perceived to have a protected characteristic or because of the characteristic of another person with whom they associate.
In relation to disability discrimination only, there is also an additional duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.
If an employee behaves in one of the prohibited ways in the course of their employment, their employer may also, by virtue of the principle of vicarious liability, be treated as having acted in that way. Vicarious liability can lead to an employer being held responsible for the unlawful conduct of their employees, even if they had no knowledge of the conduct, or disapproved of it. It is therefore essential that both employers and employees are informed about discrimination law, equal opportunities and diversity in the workplace.
If an employee with a protected characteristic feels that they have been discriminated against, they can make a claim to an employment tribunal up to three months after the act of discrimination. If their claim is successful, they may be awarded compensation for loss of earnings and/or injury to feelings.
Workplace Discrimination Lawyers in Edinburgh & Wick
At BBM Solicitors, our employment lawyers are experts in equality and discrimination law. For clear advice and assistance about Employment Law, contact our expert team at BBM Solicitors by calling us in Edinburgh 0131 526 3280, Wick 01955 604188 or by filling out our enquiry form.