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Tips for bringing a discrimination claim

Discrimination claims can be hard for employees to win. Here are some tips for bringing a discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal:

  • You must have a “protected characteristic,” namely age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
  • The discrimination you are complaining about must be because of, relate to or happen because you are associated with someone who possesses at least one of the protected characteristics. In the case of disability, the discrimination may arise in consequence of your disability instead. For example, if you are dyslexic, you may be being discriminated against because you cannot read or write.
  • Keep a diary of any potentially discriminatory acts. Note when and where the incident occurred, who was there, what happened including what was done and said and how the incident made you feel. Please note the diary could be privileged if created in the contemplation of litigation and may not itself be disclosable in subsequent proceedings. However, it will be useful for any legal advisor you show it to.
  • Raise a grievance in line with your employer’s grievance procedure. You can request a copy from the Human Resources department or your manager. If your employer does not have a grievance procedure, follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.
  • If you are treated unfairly for bringing a grievance which complains about discrimination, this in itself could constitute an act of discrimination, namely victimisation, which is a type of discrimination.
  • An appeal against any disciplinary or performance proceedings in line with your employer’s relevant procedure(s).
  • Think about bringing an action against your employer and each individual discriminator. This gives you more opportunity to recover the monies, should you win a settlement sum or Employment Tribunal award and one or more of the respondents does not pay later.
  • If you think you are being discriminated against, do not wait to take action. You have a very short time frame in which to make a notification with ACAS about bringing a claim i.e. to start ACAS early conciliation. Generally, the earliest of three months less one day from the last act of each type of discrimination, and to be safe, start ACAS early conciliation a day earlier than this.