Discrimination in the workplace
Sex, age, race, religion and belief, disability, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital status, fixed term status and part time status.
These are known as “protected characteristics”. If you are discriminated against because of a protected characteristic you are entitled to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal for compensation.
There is no qualifying period of employment required to bring a discrimination claim and no cap on the level of compensation that can be awarded. In addition, compensation can be awarded for “injury to feelings” as well as financial losses that result from discrimination. Therefore, employers need to treat these claims seriously (as well as whistleblowing claims which are similar and also have unlimited compensation).
How we can help
Our specialist employment solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with all types of discrimination claims. We regularly act for individuals where discrimination is a concern. This includes dealing with discrimination issues that arise during disciplinary proceedings or grievances, as well as in the Employment Tribunal. Often, we act for individuals who have discrimination concerns but remain in employment, or the discrimination concerns are raised as part of negotiating exit terms.
We also regularly advise individuals on maternity leave who have problems with their pay, their return to work arrangements or changes to their jobs while they are absent.
We can be strident and robust where appropriate, including when dealing with the largest of employers or professional organisations on behalf of our clients. However, we also always take into account the sensitivity of a situation and our clients’ professional and personal circumstances.
- Advising an employee in respect of a claim of age discrimination and unlawful compulsory retirement resulting in a settlement sum in excess of £150,000
- Acting for an employee of a major retailer on maternity leave, negotiating with her employer to achieve exit terms when she was told she could not return to her previous role after her maternity leave
- Supporting NHS staff, including Consultants, and University staff, including senior academic staff, with grievances about their treatment at work, including damage to their health, disability discrimination and equal pay
- Representing various individuals in relation to discrimination claims (including maternity discrimination, disability discrimination, the duty to make reasonable adjustments and equal pay) against former employers, leading to the achievement of six figure settlement sums
Our specialist team of employment solicitors is described in the independent Legal 500 directory as “excellent”. In addition, both Partners in our team are recommended by the Legal 500. Therefore, you can be reassured that you will deal with some of the best employment solicitors in the country.
We are determined and robust on your behalf, but also easy to deal with and clear in our advice. We will fight your corner but understand that a common sense approach is often required in order to find solutions that work for you in the context of your professional and personal circumstances.
In particular, we offer:
- Clear and straightforward advice.
- Cost-effective support and certainty on costs where you need it.
- Extensive experience of advising senior executives, directors, partners and others with complex employment concerns, including discrimination issues and group claims.
- A credible team that is used to dealing with and acting against large employers and law firms on behalf of our clients.
Our Approach to Costs
We know that clarity on costs is vitally important to our clients. As standard practice, we give our clients an estimate of the costs involved in undertaking any piece of work at the outset. We then provide costs updates on a regular basis.
Family-Friendly Rights and Surrogacy
How We Can Help
Family-friendly rights are constantly developing so that they better support modern working families. More women are holding senior executive positions in businesses and the developing rights aim to remove the stereotypical view that the mother is always the primary carer for the child.
The number of surrogate babies is also rising and with this, we are seeing a change in the rights for couples who use a surrogate. For example, from April 2015, couples who use a surrogate have the following rights:
- the right to adoption leave and adoption pay; and
- the right to unpaid parental leave (for up to 18 weeks until the child is 18 years old).
We provide advice on all aspects of family-friendly rights including rights for surrogate parents.
- Advising a senior HR employee on maternity leave in relation to a potential discrimination claim arising from her selection for redundancy, securing a significant exit package for her.
- Advising another employee on maternity leave in relation to the right to be offered an alternative role because her role had been made redundant whilst she was on maternity leave.
- Bringing claims for sex and pregnancy discrimination in relation to women treated less favourably whilst pregnant or on maternity leave, including claims resulting in significant payments of compensation.
- Advising on the right to request flexible working and the process that employers must follow when such a request is made.
- Providing training on Shared Parental Leave and the entitlements now available to leave and pay for mothers, fathers and adopters.
If you would like assistance in relation to family-friendly rights, please contact a member of our Employment department. Our Family department can also provide you with advice regarding family law (including advice on assisted reproduction and surrogacy).
Meet Our Specialists
Home-grown or recruited from national, regional or City firms. Our specialists are experts in their fields and respected by their peers.
Jo is a Partner and Head of our Employment Team
Jo is a Partner in both our Employment and Compliance Teams
Charlotte is the Head of Myerson HR and a Partner in our Employment Team
Patrick is an Associate in our Employment Team
Jack is an Associate in our Employment Team
Vicki is a Solicitor in our Employment Team
Meghan is a Legal PA in our Employment Team
Latest News & Insights
Keep up-to-date with the latest legal news and our expert opinion.