At its heart, discrimination law is about making sure that employees are treated fairly.
Blatant forms of discrimination are largely a thing of the past, and so claims of discrimination are now almost always about subconscious attitudes, or the unintended effect of particular working practices.
An obvious example is a claim for sexual harassment. This does not have to involve allegations of stalking or overtly sexist remarks – it could be a much more ordinary situation, like a mother returning from maternity leave part-time and being overloaded with work because her manager is not really happy with the arrangement.
Or it may be that a company prefers to recruit young women for its sales team, rather than a middle-aged man, and so is guilty of discrimination on grounds of age and sex. Examples of claims for discrimination are endless.
Many of us, whether we like it or not, tend to recruit in our own image; we tend to think that the ideal person to work in my team is someone just like me – and that brings with it assumptions about age, sex, race, sexual orientation and so on. In an extreme case it can show itself in a preference for someone who went to the same school.
Discrimination law is a large field, which has been ploughed many times over the last ten years. For general guidance, ACAS produce this useful guide and there is a good deal of advice on the BIS website on how to prevent discrimination.
But if you have a particular situation to deal with, there is really no substitute for face to face advice. To find out more about how we can help, or to discuss our open and competitive fee structure, call James Twine on 01752 423945or Victoria Sargeant on 01752 425023 to see how we can help.