Yes, I have been the victim of age discrimination
If you have been treated less-favourably at work due to your age, either because you are either younger or older than someone who is treated more favourably than you, then you need to start gathering evidence immediately. Keep copies of emails and take notes of meetings or conversations during which evidence of discrimination occurs.
Direct age discrimination mostly occurs when two employees are being considered for promotion or are up against each other in a redundancy situation, and one is treated less favourably than the other due to their age.
Indirect age discrimination mostly occurs in the operation of pay and benefits systems where a rule treats a group of younger or older employees less favourably than the other group.
Although it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee on the grounds of their age, even direct discrimination is capable of being legally justified by your employer. Therefore they may have an adequate legal defence even if you can prove discrimination. For example, a retirement age in a company may discriminate against employees aged 65+, but the fact that the company policy contains a retirement age, although discriminatory, may be justified if the employer has genuine reasons for having it.
Many employers still don’t quite understand age discrimination, or its impact. Often younger employees replace older ones leaving an employer vulnerable to a claim. In a negotiation, you will need to identify the person, or class or persons, who you believe have been treated more favourably than you on the grounds of your age. You will also need to identify how you have been subject to a detriment as a result of this treatment; for example: you have been passed-over for promotion, you are paid less, you have been made redundant in favour of someone else.
Once you have identified these two important factors, you should attempt to gather evidence of the less-favourable treatment and secure it. At this point you should raise the matter with your employer via a formal grievance in a clear manner. If you want to leave employment, you should also open up “without prejudice” negotiations with your employer alleging age discrimination and also constructive dismissal as a proven incidence of discrimination would amount to a breach of trust and confidence, as well as discrimination.
If age discrimination is proved, it can cost a large company millions, so if you have evidence which can prove discrimination for yourself or a wider group of people, there is a good chance your employer will be keen to pay you off in order to keep you quiet.
If the discrimination you have identified applies to a large group of people, and not just yourself, you have two choices: you can either inform the others who are similarly affected and look to start a multiple-person grievance and then litigation (for which you would need a solicitor), or you can use this as a bargaining chip against your employe. In this case you can offer to sign a confidentiality clause in your settlement agreement preventing you from discussing the matter with other employees – there is certainly a value in this in terms of a negotiation tactic to get the best outcome for yourself as an individual.
Yes, I have been the victim of disability discrimination
There are different forms of disability discrimination, the main ones being direct, indirect and a failure to make reasonable adjustments. What form of discrimination you have suffered depends upon your unique circumstances.
Treating someone less favourably because they are disabled is direct discrimination and there is no legal defence to this discrimination once proven.
Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice operated by their employer results in a group of disabled people being treated less favourably.
A failure to make reasonable adjustments occurs when a disabled employee is unable, due to their disability, to meet the usual expectations of other employees. An employer is obliged to put in place any reasonable measures that would support the employee in achieving the usual expectations. This could be, for example, the provision of a special chair to aid the disabled employee in sitting for long periods of time, or providing additional breaks.
Disability discrimination is a complicated area of law and one which an experienced employment law solicitor is best placed to advise you on. If you can identify areas in which disability discrimination exists in your organisation, there is scope to negotiate an attractive settlement agreement if you are wanting to leave your employment.
Yes, I have been the victim of maternity discrimination
Maternity discrimination is unfortunately very common. Many women returning from maternity leave are offered settlement agreements or redundancy payments as their employer has decided, for example, that it can either do without them, or the employer believes that the care of a child will inhibit the woman’s ability to fulfil her duties at work.
Any decision by an employer to dismiss a woman either during or upon her return from maternity leave, leaves the employer vulnerable to a claim of discrimination. You need to gather evidence and contact an employment lawyer immediately if you think you are being discriminated against because you are pregnant, or have just had a baby.
An employer may try to disguise the discrimination beneath another excuse to end your employment, but a specialist solicitor will be able to uncover any untoward intentions and use these to negotiate with your employer for a substantially increased settlement agreement.
Yes, I have been discriminated against because I am a part-time worker
It is not a very well known area of discrimination, but treating part-time workers less-favourably than full-time workers is unlawful discrimination.
Part-time employees must receive the same benefits and opportunities as full-time workers; therefore if you are a part-time worker and if you believe that a full-time worker is treated better than you are and enjoys (on a pro rata basis) more benefits or pay than you, then you need to start enquiries . You need to establish what a full-time employee in similar work to yours is paid, and what benefits they receive, and conduct a comparison. If you are missing out, then you need to raise a grievance with your employer clearly setting out the difference in treatment and ask them to justify and/or resolve it.
If discrimination is occurring but your employer refuses to acknowledge it, then you can claim discrimination. As it is a lesser-known area of employment law, this may be tricky to do on your own, but a specialist solicitor would be able to give you the best advice.
Yes, I have been the victim of race discrimination
Most instances of race discrimination are in the form of direct discrimination – treating a Person A less favourably than Person B because of their race, or harassment on the grounds of a person’s race. These days direct race discrimination is mostly insidious, as as opposed to overt, and employers that discriminate on the grounds of race will do so covertly, even unconsciously, which means that there is usually very little documentary evidence available. If there is any documentary evidence available it must be gathered and secured before taking any further steps.
Making an allegation of race discrimination against an employer is extremely serious, so make sure you understand what your allegations are and have the facts to back them up. You need to have evidence to support your accusations and be able to formulate your arguments in a clear manner – this is where a professional solicitor is worth their weight in gold, as they can help you sift through the evidence and separate emotions from a clear argument, in order to get you a healthy settlement package.
Various types of discrimination are still surprisingly common in the workplace. For example, many people do not realise that being signed off sick from work can count as a disability in some circumstances – meaning if your employer treats you unfavourably because you are off sick with stress, they could be found to be guilty of disability discrimination.