Have you suffered from Discrimination? – What are your rights in the UK?
Discrimination is commonly the outcome of prejudices that some individuals hold. Typically it is a pre-formed negative attitude or judgement. The inequality held in this view is what is referred to as ‘social satisfaction.’ Due to this unequal social system, discrimination does occur with the unfair treatment of specific individuals or social groups. The Equality Act 2010 is a law which is designed to protect certain individuals from this unfavourable treatment. Discrimination against an individual or social group whether it be direct or indirect is unlawful if it is listed as a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010.
What is the Equality Act 2010?
The Equality Act was a law that was introduced in 2010, which was designed to protect you from discrimination. It means that the criteria for discrimination can fall under different characteristics. The Equality Act applies to discrimination by:
- Religion or belief
- Pregnancy and Maternity
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage or Civil Partnership
If you fall under one of these protected characteristics you are protected from discrimination – if it should occur. It is still discrimination if the person or group who is treating you unfairly or differently whether they are aware or unaware. This is known as direct or indirect discrimination. Regardless of what category it falls under, it is still unlawful if someone acts or treats you differently due to a protected characteristic.
Indirect & Direct Discrimination
A keynote to remember is that discrimination does not have to be intentional for it to be unlawful. Indirect discrimination is defined by the Equality Act 2010 if there are policies, rules or practices that apply to everyone in the same way but can hurt some people than others. It falls under inequality and discrimination if these rules or policies are to put you at a disadvantage. However, indirect discrimination can occasionally be lawful, if the person or company can demonstrate that there is a good enough reason for these policies, rules or practices. They would need to prove this justification in court.
Whereas direct discrimination is when you are treated intentionally worse than someone else due to a protected characteristic that you may fall under. If you feel that you are being treated less favorably because of who they believe you are, then this is direct discrimination by perception. It can also be direct discrimination if you are mistreated because of someone that you are associated with, or someone you are tied to. This could be your partner, friend, child or parent. This is defined as direct discrimination by association.
Can Discrimination be justified?
If you fall into the protected categories in the Equality Act 2010 and feel you have been treated unequally or discriminated against you can take this action to the civil courts. There are some cases where people are ‘allowed’ to discriminate against you if the courts find they have a good enough reason to do so. If the court accepts this, it would be known as objective justification. If the discrimination is found to be justified, then it will not be classed as unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act. There are only three situations that discrimination can be justified, they are:
- Indirect – if a company or individual can prove why they have said policies, rules or practices in place.
- Discrimination connected to disabilities – this is known as discrimination arising from a disability
- Direct Age disability – if a company or individual can prove that they are justified for the age restriction it can sometimes be deemed as justified.
Taking Legal Action against Discrimination
If you feel that you have cause to take your discrimination claim to court, then you will have to make your discrimination claim in the County Court. It can sometimes be a long and stressful process, but our legal team can advise you further on this. You need to ensure that unlawful discrimination has taken place according to the Equality Act 2010. If you want to make your claim to court, it has to be within six months of the day of the act or evidence that you are claiming about. The court can sometimes allow a claim outside of the time limits if it is found equitable to do so. If the discrimination has occurred in the workplace, the time limit is three months.
To learn more about your Discrimination rights reach out to the legal team at Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors today