Discrimination at work


What is discrimination at work?

Discrimination is against the law. Discrimination at work is when your employer treats you less favourably than others, on grounds that are not related to your competency or ability to do your job because you belong to a particular group or category. The particular group or category is known as a “protected characteristic”.  The protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The Equality Act 2010 provides protection from discrimination for EVERYONE with a protected characteristic.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is in charge of human rights and equalities. It has a role to protect, enforce and promote equality across the protected characteristics through the Equality Act 2010.

  • The Act provides a list of unique characteristics that it will protect. These are called the protected characteristics.
  • It describes the different types of conduct and behaviour which your employer, colleagues and others must not do. This is called prohibited conduct.
  • It provides a list of the specific types of activity in the employment relationship that are protected.
  • It gives you the power to make a claim in the Employment Tribunal if your employer discriminates against you.

What you can do about discrimination at work

There is no need to tolerate discrimination at work, when there is such an effective law protecting you from it. The law is only useful if you use it.

What to do if you are still in your job

If you are the target of discrimination, you must first raise a formal grievance with your employer, to give your employer an opportunity to put things right. At the same time, you can submit a discrimination questionnaire to your employer to help you collect evidence about the discrimination. If the grievance does not resolve the matter, you should contact the free ACAS Early Conciliation service for assistance. You don’t need to leave the job before you contact ACAS.


What to do if you have left the job

If you have already been fired and you think your dismissal was because of your protected characteristic, you should write a Letter before Claim to your employer within three months of your dismissal. You can submit a discrimination questionnaire to your employer to help you collect evidence about the discrimination.


Going to the Employment Tribunal

There are strict time limits for submitting a claim to the Employment Tribunal. The time-limit is usually three months less one day for each act of discrimination.   In order to have a claim in the Employment Tribunal, you will need to prove that;

  1. You have a protected characteristic
  2. Your employer (or prospective employer) has carried out unlawful conduct and behaviour BECAUSE of your protected characteristic.
  3. Your employer (or prospective employer) carried out the prohibited conduct or behaviour in relation to an activity in the employment relationship.
  4. You suffered detriment (or could suffer detriment) because of what your employer has done.

Resources and Information 

We have all the resources, legal guidance, template letters information and advice to deal with the different types of workplace discrimination, at every level whether you just need advice before you decide what to do, have already been fired or are even in the middle of any of these procedures. We will support you and guide you at every stage.


To use this service, scroll down to Related Pages  where you will find  detailed legal guidance on discrimination with signposts to the best of what is available on the web. Below that, under Related Resources you will find Employee Rescue Legal Guides, letter templates and information to help you address your discrimination problem at work.   If you need more help, you can always contact us for specific information, advice and directions on what to do.


Some discrimination advice pages…..more below


Best of the web

Citizens Advice – About Discrimination

Equality and Discrimination: Understand the Basics  –  Outlines the fundamentals of what employers, and employees and their representatives need to know to comply with equality law.

Prevent Discrimination: Support Equality – Explains where discrimination is most likely to arise in the workplace and how to stop it happening.

Discrimination: What to do if it happens – is a step-by-step guide covering how an employee should raise a complaint of discrimination and how an employer should handle it.

The Equality Advisory and Support Service – EASS for expert information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues.

Equality and Human Rights Commission – Employment Statutory Code of Practice



This resource is published by Employee Rescue Limited. Please note that the information and any commentary on the law contained herein is provided free of charge for information purposes only. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. Employee Rescue accepts no responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this update. Further specialist advice should be taken before relying on the contents of this summary. No part of this summary may be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the prior permission of Employee Rescue Ltd.


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