Discrimination in the workplace

By Adam Fletcher

One of the more common issues we deal with at Caven is people who believe they are the subject of discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination comes in many forms; it may be based on race, gender, religion, age, disability or sexual preference.

Discriminatory behaviour in the workplace is illegal under UK law and, as such, if you feel like you’re being discriminated or victimised against for any of the above reasons there are a number of avenues which can be taken to address the issue.

Informal solution

If you feel comfortable enough the first place to start is bringing the behaviour up in an informal way with a colleague or supervisor. As people sometimes don’t know their behaviour is discriminatory this can often fix the problem. However, if the discrimination is endemic in the organisation things may need to go further.

Internal grievance procedure

If trying to fix things informally doesn’t affect the environment the internal grievance procedure will need to be started. This involves the employee writing a grievance letter to the employer, which formally complains about the discrimination they have been subjected to. Upon receipt of the grievance letter an employer will begin investigating the issues and hopefully address them. If the issues aren’t addressed to the satisfaction of the employee there is another stage to the grievance process; namely, the appeal. Appealing the outcome of a grievance is very similar to the first stage but is the final stage of the internal procedure.

If both the grievance and the appeal are unsuccessful you will need to take your employer to an employment tribunal. The employment tribunal was set up solely to settle employment disputes between employees and employers and hears many discrimination cases.

An expert employment law solicitor will be able to advise you further on both the internal grievance procedure and taking your case to the employment tribunal. So if you feel that you have suffered discrimination at work call Caven and we’ll put you in touch with a solicitor who is an expert in discrimination at work.