Discrimination Claims

Discrimination Claims

Employment law in Scotland protects all employees from discrimination. If you have been discriminated against you may be entitled to compensation. Our employment law specialists can offer a no win, no fee service at Watermans Solicitors.

What is discrimination?

The Equality Act 2010 provides that no employee should be discriminated against on the grounds of their age, sex, race, marital status, pregnancy and maternity, religious or philosophical belief, sexual orientation or gender reassignment. These are what is referred to in the Equality Act 2010 as “protected characteristics” and it is unlawful for your employer to discriminate against you based on one of these characteristics.<

Examples of discrimination can include the following:

  • Dismissal – if someone is dismissed after disclosing that they are pregnant, or after disclosing they hold a particular religious or philosophical belief.
  • Terms and conditions of employment – offering benefits to married couples that are not offered to people in a civil partnership
  • Pay and benefits – having different rates of pay to men and women who do work of equal value, or the provision of a bonus to one group and not the other
  • Promotion – failure to promote women of child bearing age
  • Training – failing to include training for a woman on maternity leave, when all of her colleagues are included in the training
  • Redundancy – selecting someone for redundancy because they have a disability
  • Qualifications – implementing a policy which requires an employee close to retirement age to obtain a qualification that wasn’t previously required to carry out their job

Disability discrimination

Under the Equality Act 2010 employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure that disabled staff do not face any obstacles which prevent them from being able to carry out their job. This is referred to in the Equality Act 2010 as the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

Reasonable adjustments can be made to both physical aspects of the workplace and also to workplace policies and working practices. Reasonable adjustments can be in various forms. Examples are as follows:

  • Physical changes to the workplace can include the installation of a ramp for a wheelchair user
  • Allowing a wheelchair user to work from the ground floor
  • Changing the recruitment process so that a disabled candidate can be considered
  • Providing an visual fire alarm for a deaf employee
  • Allowing a dyslexic employee to dictate a report instead of having to type it
  • Providing documents and policies to a visually impaired in braille
  • Employer’s policies and working practices can be changed to changed to allow a disabled employee flexible hours, accommodate paid time off for medical appointments, adjustment of absence triggers or extra rest breaks

An Employment Tribunal will consider whether the adjustment would have been reasonable and practical. This will depend on the size of the employer’s business and the resources available to them.

Invisible disabilities

Not all disabilities are physical. The Equality Act 2010 recognises that mental health conditions can be disabilities. Mental health conditions include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.

Reasonable adjustments for mental health conditions can include a change to working hours, changing to a post with less responsibility, allowing an employee to work from home and allowing an employee time off for therapy and medical appointments.

How Watermans can help

If you are disabled and believe you have been discriminated against, Watermans can help you. Our employment law specialists can provide a free assessment of your case. Discrimination cases are complex and time limits for pursuing a claim are short. Watermans can assist you in a sympathetic and sensitive manner and make the process as stress free and straight forward as possible.

Gender discrimination

The majority of gender discrimination cases, or sex discrimination cases as they are sometimes referred to, which end up in front of Employment Tribunals are pursued by women. Gender discrimination cases tend to arise from sexism in the workplace.

Examples of gender discrimination are as follows:

  • Pay – paying a women less than a man who does the same job as her, even though she has the same skills, qualifications and experience as him. There is still a significant gender pay gap between men and women.
  • Promotion – An employer failing to promote women of child bearing age
  • Job interview – asking a women if she has plans to start a family, or asking her how she will juggle her family along with work commitments
  • Demotion – being demoted after returning from maternity leave, or after disclosing pregnancy
  • Dress code – requiring women to dress to wear high heels as part of their work-wear

Harassment

Harassment is unwanted conduct of which is either related to gender, or of a sexual nature and covers any behaviour which creates a hostile or intimidating environment. This can be anything from comments on women being inferior, inappropriate sexual gestures and unwanted sexual advances.

How we can help you

If you have been discriminated against, Watermans can help you. Our employment law specialists can provide a free assessment of your case. Discrimination cases and complex and time limits for pursuing a claim are short. Watermans can assist you in a sympathetic and sensitive manner and make the process as stress free and straight forward as possible.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination

Pregnant women and women returning from maternity leave are protected from discrimination and unfavourable treatment. There isn’t a pregnancy discrimination act, however the Equality Act 2010 prohibits pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

Examples of pregnancy and maternity discrimination are as follows:

  • Dismissal – this can be either after a woman discloses that she is pregnant, or dismissal while she is on maternity leave.
  • Demotion – any removal or duties or drop in salary, or failure to allow the employee to return to the post that she left if she returns within 26 weeks of giving birth.
  • Financial detriment – penalising an employee who is on sick leave during her pregnancy, or the refusal to give pay rise or bonus to a women who is pregnant or on maternity leave
  • Childcare – refusing a request for flexible working to a woman returning from maternity leave, without reasonable grounds for the refusal

How we can help you

At Watermans we understand how difficult it can be dealing with employment issues during pregnancy and the challenges that women can face returning from maternity leave. If you believe that you have been discriminated against, Watermans can help you. Our employment law specialists can provide a free assessment of your case. Discrimination cases are complex and time limits for pursuing a claim are short. Watermans can assist you in a sympathetic and sensitive manner and make the process as stress free and straight forward as possible.

Age discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 sets out that age is a protected characteristic. There is no specific age discrimination act, however under the Equality Act 2010, no employee, job seeker or trainee should be discriminated against because of their age.

Examples of age discrimination are as follows:

  • Telling an employee that they are too old to learn new IT skills
  • Commenting on how an older employee is too slow at their job
  • Inappropriate comments, such as calling an older employee a “dinosaur” or calling a younger member of staff “wet behind the ears”.
  • Introducing a requirement that means older staff need to obtain a Degree in order to stay in a job that they have been working in successfully for years
  • Dismissing an older employee who is not able to operate new IT systems

How can we help you

If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your age, Watermans can help you. Our employment law specialists can provide a free assessment of your case. Discrimination cases and complex and time limits for pursuing a claim are short. Watermans can assist you in a sympathetic and sensitive manner and make the process as stress free and straight forward as possible.

Race discrimination

Race discrimination occurs when an employee is treated less favourably because of their race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins. Race also covers ethnic and racial groups. Race discrimination can also occur by perceived discrimination, where an employee is subjected to a detriment because their employer considers that they are of an ethnic or national origin that they do not actually belong to, for example assuming that someone who speaks with an Irish accent is a gypsy traveller.

Examples of race discrimination are as follows:

  • Insistence that employees having qualifications from the UK if this cannot be objectively justified by the employer
  • Inappropriate name calling. An employer cannot defend this behaviour by brushing it off as a joke or banter
  • The banning of headgear which would put the wearers of religious headgear at a detriment
  • Being ridiculed for speaking with an accent

Harassment

Harassment is unwanted conduct which is related to race and covers any behaviour which creates a hostile or intimidating environment. This can be anything from inappropriate comments and name calling to racial stereotyping.

How can we help you

If you have been discriminated against, Watermans can help you. Our employment law specialists can provide a free assessment of your case. Discrimination cases and complex and time limits for pursuing a claim are short. Watermans can assist you in a sympathetic and sensitive manner and make the process as stress free and straight forward as possible.

Sexual orientation discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 provides that employees should not be discriminated against on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when an employee is treated less favourably than an employee who does not have the same sexual orientation as them. Discrimination can also occur due to perceived sexual orientation

Examples of sexual orientation discrimination are as follows:

  • Referring to a male colleague by using a feminine version of his name
  • Disclosing a colleague’s sexual orientation without their consent
  • Use of derogatory language and name calling
  • Insults and threats
  • Refusal of colleagues to work with an employee because of their sexual orientation
  • Asking intrusive questions

Harassment

Harassment is unwanted conduct which is related to sexual orientation and covers any behaviour which creates a hostile or intimidating environment. This can be anything from inappropriate comments to spreading rumours about someone’s sexual orientation.

How can we help you

If you have been discriminated against, Watermans can help you. Our employment law specialists can provide a free assessment of your case. Discrimination cases and complex and time limits for pursuing a claim are short. Watermans can assist you in a sympathetic and sensitive manner and make the process as stress free and straight forward as possible. Contact us to start a claim.