Equal opportunities

Employment Law London provides services to both employees and employers. Employees and employers are protected by and subject to employment legislation.

Equal opportunities

An employee who complains of discrimination in whatever way can pursue legal action in an employment tribunal and no qualifying period is necessary in order to bring such a claim. Discrimination claims are not subject to any maximum award.

UK legislation provides protection from discrimination in relation to sex, sex change, marital status, race, disability, trade union membership, sexual orientation, religion or religious belief and age.

There are four recognised forms of discrimination:

  • Direct discrimination
  • Indirect discrimination
  • Victimisation
  • Harassment

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination is unfavourable treatment of an employee because of his or her sex, race or other areas of discrimination. For there to be direct discrimination, the person’s sex or marital status is the basis of the particular decision which results in the individual being deprived in some way and which gives rise to less favourable treatment. It is the treatment itself rather than its consequences which must be different and less favourable.

Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination covers other forms of less obvious discriminatory treatment. It occurs where, on the surface, the employer treats employees equally, but in reality a significant proportion of employees of a particular race, sex or religion or other factors are disadvantaged.  Such discrimination is unlawful unless the employer can justify it on objective grounds in the circumstances of the case.

Victimisation

An employer would be guilty of sex or other types of discrimination by victimisation if it treated any employee less favourably than others because that employee had brought or threatened to bring proceedings, give evidence or information, or take any action or make any allegation concerning the employer.

Harassment

Harassment occurs where an employer engages in unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an interrogating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the individual. This is a relatively wide definition and its scope will include physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct.


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