If you believe you have been discriminated against at work then you have the right to engage the ‘formal questions procedure’ under the Equality Act 2010. The questions procedure takes the form of a discrimination questionnaire which you can download from the ACAS website. The website also provides additional tips on how to fill in the questionnaire.
How to ask the right questions?
The most important advice we can give you here is to ask direct and pertinent questions and ask for disclosure of clearly identified documents. Much like the approach to gathering evidence generally, if you are too wide-ranging in your questions, or in your request for disclosure, then it is likely that your answers will be rebuffed or your request for disclosure not completed adequately.
Try to focus on the specific areas where you think you have been treated less-favourably, under just a few main headings, and then ask direct questions under those headings . The employer must then either answer those questions, or risk drawing an adverse inference at an employment tribunal – in other words, if they don’t answer your questions in a straightforward manner, the tribunal will probably think less of their case.
The same goes for requests for documents under the questions procedure: the more focussed the request the more reasonable it will seem, and if the employer doesn’t comply they risk drawing an adverse inference at an tribunal.
When to submit your completed discrimination questionnaire?
Because of the need for focus in the questionnaire, the ideal time to submit one is usually after you have a good idea of the nature of your discrimination case, after you have exhausted your search for documents in the usual manner, and when you are able to make your points clearly and concisely.