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Most employers dread an accusation of discrimination being made against them, not only because of the stress and anxiety it can cause to them personally, but because of the damage it can do to the reputation of their business. At Saracens Solicitors we can offer specialist advice to assist clients in navigating their way through the intricate area of discrimination law so as to take preventative action to offset discrimination claims. Furthermore, if a claim for discrimination has been brought against the company, we can defend our clients in litigation proceedings at the Employment Tribunal.
The law of discrimination in the United Kingdom is lengthy and complex. The Equality Act 2010 has gone some way to rectify some of the complexity by bringing most elements of discrimination under one legislative roof. However, the Act also lowered the bar for what constitutes discrimination and employers must be vigilant in ensuring that they are following proper procedures before, during and after an employee’s period of employment.
Under the Equalities Act 2010 certain characteristics are protected and it is an offence under the Act to treat a person unequally because of one of them. The nine characteristics are:
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage and Civil Partnership
- Pregnancy and Maternity
- Religion or Belief
- Sexual Orientation
Direct or Indirect Discrimination
The Equalities Act 2010 provides employees with a right to make a claim against an employer for both direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination is reasonably straightforward, for example, if your organisation refuses to hire anyone over the age of 50 years, this is direct discrimination against the protected characteristic of age. Indirect discrimination can be more difficult for a company to avoid, as it involves situations where the organisation’s practices, policies and procedures indirectly cause discrimination against a particular group. Our experienced employment solicitors will advise you as to whether your businesses practices, policies and procedures contain elements that may leave you vulnerable to a case for discrimination being brought against your business by one of your employees.
Businesses need to be alert to the fact that an action for discrimination can be brought if someone in an organisation perceives that an individual has a certain protected characteristic and discriminates against them because of this, whether or not, in fact, the person actually possesses the particular characteristic. Cases of perceived discrimination can be very complex, however, our employment litigators will provide you with clear, concise advice and guide you through the dispute process with the utmost competency and professionalism.
If you would like to find out more information about discrimination law then please request a call back by filling in the form to the right hand side of this page or phone our office on 020 3588 3500.