To have ‘discriminating tastes’ is usually a very praiseworthy thing. Whether it’s food and beverages, television programs, sports teams etc, everyone has things they like and dislike and not accepting any old rubbish is something to be applauded.
But when discrimination becomes less driven by ‘taste’ and more of a focused dislike of individual or group of people with certain characteristic, that is when the practice becomes far less savory and far more damaging to the target or even to society as a whole.
Indeed, discrimination in the workplace can of course be very damaging to a person’s livelihood and life in general. Ultimately, if an individual is qualified to do a job and they don’t engage in any workplace misconduct, then nothing else should matter. And no matter what, no one should have to endure different treatment based on their sex, race or disability. Thankfully, this is where the law can help.
It’s important to note that absolutely everyone in the United Kingdom is protected from discrimination in the workplace (and beyond) thanks to the Equality Act passed in 2010. Restrictions (based on various factors) on employment, pay, promotions, training and more is all considered discrimination. That said sometimes even these moves are admissible, such as when a religious organization or school is only willing to accept members or students who share their faith. However, that’s about as far as any exceptions go. There are very few excusable reasons to discriminate and the practice is typically a bad one.
If you find you’ve been discriminated against at work because of your age, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability or some other protected characteristic, you can’t wait for your Human Resources department to make a move on your behalf. Instead, you should gather proof and press forward on your own, perhaps with the help of a solicitor. If you’d rather not take things that far, you could alternatively go with mediation or alternative dispute resolution, or try to work things out between yourself and the offending party. However, since such a person has already made it clear how they feel about you, this last method of resolution rarely works.
Initially, you will want to try working things out informally (unless the discrimination has been of a particularly serious nature). It’s less of a hassle and it certainly takes less time and money to reach a conclusion. You always have the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), if you can’t work things out with your employer on your own. A trade union or solicitor can also help you to make a good case; while you might be dealing with discrimination in the workplace for the first time, these professional people see it happen day in and day out, so have more experience in finding resolutions.
Please note, we are not solicitors or qualified advisors and all the information on this blog has been cribbed from other sources online. At all times we’d suggest that you seek out full and proper legal advice, or use other sources to supplement what you find on this website. So, to get you started; here are a few links that offer useful overviews of discrimination in the workplace:
A fascinating little infographic I found that shows how health and safety has a direct impact on workplace attendance. There is therefore a very clear correlation between health and safety and employment law. Know your rights and if you have an legal issue within your workplace, find yourself an employment solicitor today.