Discrimination at work claim solicitors

We have helped over 3,000 employees across England and Wales with their employment law claims and we can help you with your claim.

Need help with an employment claim?

Discrimination in the workplace is against the law

You can claim for discrimination at work in the following ‘protected’ areas:

In these types of work discrimination cases the victim needs to prove that they have been a victim of discrimination if they have been treated less favourably because of their characteristic in the 'protected' areas.

Our Employment Law Solicitors do understand how difficult it can be to prove discrimination at work, and we are here to help you. We also appreciate how distressing and complex employment discrimination claims can be for claimants.

We only represent employees (not employers) and we always work to make the discrimination claims process as stress free as possible.

I found you to be clear and kind, you took the time to listen to my story and showed empathy. Thanks again - I hope I shall never find myself in need of your services in future! If I do, I won't hesitate to come back.

Funding your employment law claim

We provide fixed fee employment law services. We can provide a 1 hour consultation with an employment solicitor for £240 (including VAT) or a comprehensive claims report for £450 (including VAT).

We also offer hourly rate services for more complex employment claims and funding through legal expenses insurance (LEI).

Find out more about our fees and how to fund your employment law claim.

What’s the difference between direct and indirect discrimination at work?

Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably in the workplace because of a protected characteristic. Indirect discrimination occurs when a workplace policy or procedure applies to everybody, but it puts those who have a protected characteristic at a disadvantage.

Direct discrimination

When an individual is treated less favourably at work because of one (or more) of the protected characteristics listed above, this is direct discrimination. Examples of direct discrimination might include dismissal, refusal to employ someone, refusal to promote someone, or withholding benefits or training from them.

This could be in the form of a pregnant employee being denied a promotion because of her pregnancy, for example, or a disabled candidate being overlooked for a role because of their disability.

Interestingly, the individual in question does not necessarily have to have the protected characteristic in order to be the victim of direct discrimination. They could be treated less favourably because their family member, friend or associate has a protected characteristic - this is direct discrimination by association. Or they could be treated less favourably because they are perceived to have a certain protected characteristic, even if they don't - this is direct discrimination by perception.

Indirect discrimination

If an employer has certain practices, procedures, rules or processes that put people with a protected characteristic at a disadvantage then this is indirect discrimination. The key difference here is that the employees who are at a disadvantage because of their protected characteristic are not being singled out by their employer, they are simply subject to the same rules as everyone else. However, because of their protected characteristic, the rules put them at a disadvantage compared with their co-workers.

Indirect discrimination can occur as a result of formal processes or as a result of one-off, informal arrangements, but the main factor is that the practices, procedures, rules or processes must apply to everyone in the same way. If a rule or policy only applies to some of the workforce based on their shared protected characteristic, then this could be direct discrimination, rather than indirect discrimination.

Any example of indirect discrimination could be a contract clause which applies to all employees saying that they could be required to work late or travel away from home for work at short notice. Although this applies to everyone in the same way, this could potentially put a young mother at a disadvantage, as she would need to make childcare arrangements. This could be seen to be indirect discrimination on the basis of her gender.

Another example of indirect discrimination could be insisting that all employees work on a certain date, which is a religious holiday. Although this rule applies to everyone, it disadvantages certain employees because of their religion while other employees who do not practice that religion will not be at a disadvantage.

Objective Justification for Indirect Discrimination In certain circumstances, indirect discrimination may not be unlawful if an employer can demonstrate that there is an 'objective justification' for the rule, process or procedure in question.

The employer will be required to show that the rule, process or procedure in question is necessary to achieve a certain aim, the benefits of which outweigh the discriminatory impact. They will also need to demonstrate that there would be no other way of achieving this same aim in a way that did not indirectly discriminate certain employees.

While costs and economic benefits to the business could be taken into consideration, cost alone is unlikely to be sufficient as a justification for indirect discrimination.

Making a discrimination at work claim

To make a discrimination claim, it must relate to a protected characteristic and early conciliation must be started within 3 months, less one day, of the discrimination taking place. If this criteria hasn't been met, the Tribunal is unlikely to have the power to hear your case and we’ll be unable to help with your case at this time.

About Co-op Legal Services

Co-op Legal Services has over 600 staff working in different businesses with offices in Manchester, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sheffield and London.

As part of the Co-op Group, our values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are core to the service we provide.