The law provides protection against people being discriminated against in the workplace and gives them the right to take legal action if they are mistreated, due to what are known as a “protected characteristic” which include sex and other types of discrimination, which are set out in the Equality Act 2010 (the Act).
Sex discrimination can either be direct or indirect.
An example of direct discrimination would be where someone was called a name or referred to in a certain way which was clearly biased against or detrimental to one sex compared with the other.
These days indirect discrimination is more common. This is where in the workplace there is some sort of condition, criteria or practice which makes it more difficult for one gender to comply with than another and the effect is that for instance a female is put at a disadvantage when compared with males who can comply with the provision.
An example might be the requirement to lift particular heavy items as a prerequisite of being appointed to a job when this is not really necessary.
Another example would be changing requirements in respect of working hours, facilities or benefits.
Sometimes it is quite difficult to identify the indirect discrimination, but this can only be justified by an employer if an employee can demonstrate it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
You may not be aware that you can take legal action for discrimination whilst you are still employed. Your employment does not have to be terminated. Tribunals can make various awards if there is sex discrimination including (a) declaring that the particular requirement is illegal, therefore requiring the employer to cease that particular requirement or (b) award compensation for any financial loss and in some cases can award a sum of money for injury to feelings where this is appropriate.
At Bray & Bray we have represented people and businesses in respect of discrimination problems in many different circumstances.
If you think you have experienced sex discrimination in your workplace or indeed in connection with the application for a job then you may be entitled to make a claim. Our expert employment team can help you through any claim or indeed if you are a business, defend any claim.
Bray & Bray has three main offices in Leicestershire, contact us to discuss an enquiry or a case you have or feel free to pop in and see us at your local office by clicking on the links below;
Leicester call us on 0116 254 8871.
Hinckley call us on 01455 639 900.
Market Harborough call us on 01858 467 181.
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