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As an employer, it’s vital to understand the regulations in place regarding employee rights and there is a duty of care and responsibility. You may be vulnerable to a discrimination claim and if an employee believes they have been treated unfairly, it can be damaging to both the employer and the company. As an employer, it’s vital to understand the regulations in place regarding employee rights and there is a duty of care and responsibility. You may be vulnerable to a discrimination claim and if an employee believes they have been treated unfairly, it can be damaging to both the employer and the company.

KLG Law have created this document to assist employees in their understanding of the types of discrimination in the workplace that, as of the Equality Act of 2010, are illegal. KLG Law have created this document to assist employees in their understanding of the types of discrimination in the workplace that, as of the Equality Act of 2010, are illegal.

The important point is that an employer cannot treat an employee unfairly based on one of the ‘protected characteristics’. The important point is that an employer cannot treat an employee unfairly based on one of the ‘protected characteristics’.

What are the 9 protected characteristics of the equality act?

It is against the law to discriminate against an individual for any of the below characteristics:

Classes of Discrimination

Depending on the particular circumstances, an employer’s actions may be deemed to be a particular kind of discrimination:

Direct Discrimination

If an employee is treated differently to how other employees are treated, based on their possession of a ‘protected characteristic’, then an employer may be guilty of direct discrimination.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination is where an employer treats an employee in the same way as they do their colleagues, but this treatment has a worse effect on a particular employee because of who they are, for example, because of their race, their sex etc.Indirect discrimination is where an employer treats an employee in the same way as they do their colleagues, but this treatment has a worse effect on a particular employee because of who they are, for example, because of their race, their sex etc.

Harassment

If an employer or their other employees behave in an unwanted or unwelcome manner towards an employee, which is meant or has the effect of violating their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, this may give rise to a claim of harassment. It is important to understand that conduct will only be unlawful if it is because of or related to, the protected characteristics i.e. their race, age, sexual orientation etc.

Victimisation

This is a kind of discrimination where an employer or their other employees treat an employee badly because of their having complained about being a victim of discrimination in the past, for example, direct or indirect discrimination or harassment. Employers are obliged to take reasonable steps to protect their employees where they have previously claimed to have suffered from discrimination. If they fail to do so, they may be vulnerable to legal action.

Maternity and Pregnancy Discrimination

This is a particular kind of discrimination under the Equality Act. If an employer treats an employee unfairly owing to their pregnancy or having recently given birth, causing them to be disadvantaged, they will be guilty of having treated that employee unfavourably under the Equality Act.

Employers are forbidden from taking employees’ absence from work owing to a pregnancy-related illness into account when considering their employment. Furthermore, if they are notified that their employee is pregnant, they are obliged to carry out a risk assessment to ensure that they are no health and safety risks to the employee or their unborn child.

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The law on discrimination can be very difficult to navigate successfully.

 At KLG, we take pride in our successful history of helping clients handle claims of discrimination in the workplace. We provide expert advice that reflects your circumstances, and we will work with you every step of the way in addressing a discrimination claim. 

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