The right not to be discriminated against applies to job applicants, workers and employees and prevents someone from being treated less favourably because of a 'protected characteristic', (their age, a disability, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race/colour/nationality/ethnicity, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment).
The right not to be discriminated against is a day one right and as you can see every person has at least three of the above protected characteristics. The legislation also offers individuals protection from being harassed or victimised because of their protected characteristic.
Handling a claim
Whilst you may be the employer, individual staff members can also find themselves facing a Tribunal claim. You may have a defence against the actions of your employees, but you will not be able to rely on it unless you can demonstrate you have taken all reasonable steps to prevent them from doing the discriminatory act.
It is crucial that you and your managers understand how to identify where there may be a potential claim and what to do (and what not to do) when handling any situation.
Our Employment solicitors can provide you with appropriately worded policies and run in-house training session to ensure that you can rely on this defence.
Handling a complaint of discrimination can be both sensitive and difficult, especially if the claimant is a current employee. We can guide you through the process you need to follow both before and after any Employment Tribunal claim has been issued.
How much compensation can a claimant receive?
There is no upper limit on the amount of compensation that may be awarded in successful discrimination claims. It can include any financial loss the individual has suffered and an injury to feelings award.
The cost to your business, as well as reputational damage if you get things wrong could therefore be substantial.