How to write a grievance about discrimination at work

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This guide provides in depth direction on writing a grievance about discrimination at work. It shows you how to escalate your employer’s breaches of policy and employment law, strategies and issues of limitation that you need to be aware of.

What is a grievance?

The ACAS Code defines grievances as “concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers”.  You can raise a grievance about things like your terms and conditions of employment, health and safety, workplace relationships, new working practices, organisational changes, equality, discrimination, bullying and harassment, and whistleblowing.   Always try to resolve problems informally before raising a grievance.

Discrimination at work

Discrimination is when your employer treats you less favourably than others at work, 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”.
Part V of the Equality Act 2010 (EQA 2010) provides job applicants, trainees, employees, and selfemployed workers with protection from discrimination at work. This Act makes it unlawful for your employer to discriminate against you because of your protected characteristic in job advertisements, recruitment and selection, during and after employment, in occupational pension schemes, employment training and equal pay.
Section 39 EQA 2010 says that an employer must not discriminate against, victimise or harass a job applicant or worker. As a worker, your employer must not discriminate against or victimise you;

  • In the terms and conditions of your employment.
  • In the way they make access to opportunities for promotion, transfer or training or for receiving any other benefit, facility or service.
  • By dismissing you.
  • By subjecting you to any other detriment.

You must raise a grievance about the discrimination before doing anything else. This guide includes explanations of the different types of discrimination and how you can apply the law to your particular circumstances.  We recommend that you also take advantage of the ACAS Questions Procedure to get evidence about the discrimination you are facing at work. If your employer treats you badly for raising the grievance, you will also have a victimisation claim.

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