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Discrimination Solicitors in London

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What is Discrimination

Discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly for any of these reasons:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy or maternity
  • race (including colour, nationality, ethnic and national origin)
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

These are called ‘protected characteristics’ under the law (the Equality Act 2010). Discrimination based on any of these protected characteristics is usually against the law.

Types of unfair treatment

According to the law, there are different types of unfair treatment.

Discrimination is one type of unfair treatment and can, for example, be direct or indirect >>. Other types of unfair treatment include bullying.

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly because of a protected characteristic, such as sex or race. For example, someone is not offered a promotion because they’re a woman and the job goes to a less qualified man.

Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination can happen when there are rules or arrangements that apply to a group of employees or job applicants, but in practice are less fair to a certain protected characteristic.

The employee or applicant must be able to prove both of the following about the rule or arrangement:

  • it’s unfair to them and to others with the same protected characteristic, for example a woman believes she’s experiencing sex discrimination >> against women
  • it’s unfair compared with those who do not have the protected characteristic, for example, it’s unfair to employees who are women, but not to men

Indirect discrimination can be allowed if the employer can prove a business case for the rule or arrangement >> (‘objective justification’).

When an employer could be held responsible for an employee’s actions

If an employee discriminates against someone else, by law their employer could also be held responsible. This is known as ‘vicarious liability’.

Whether the employee and employer are both held responsible depends on whether the discrimination is linked to the employee’s work. The law describes this relationship as ‘acting in the course of employment’. The discrimination could happen at work or outside the workplace, for example at a work party, or through social media that’s linked to work.

If someone has discriminated against you

If you believe someone at work has discriminated against you, you should raise the issue >> with your employer. It’s best to do this informally at first.

If that does not resolve the issue you can raise it formally >>. This is known as ‘raising a grievance’.

You can also make a claim to an employment tribunal >>. It’s best to try the other options first.

If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination and want to know your options please contact our specialist employment solicitors for a no obligation and confidential consultation on
0203 669 2216 or email


Call or email us to arrange a free consultation.

0203 669 2216