We act for people who have had a difficult time at work. If this sounds like you, our solicitors are here to listen with sympathy and respect. We are experts in employment law, discrimination and unfair treatment claims at work.
Unfair Treatment and Discrimination Lawyers Hertfordshire
This guide covers five the following points about discrimination in the workplace that you need to be aware of in order to determine if you have a viable case of unlawful discrimination:
- Will it Cost me Anything to Speak to a Solicitor
- How does a "No Win, No Fee" Agreement Work?
- Will I Have to go to Court?
- Where to Bring Your Claim – The Employment Tribunal
- Time Limits on Submitting Your Claim
- The Standard and Burden Of Proof
- The Tribunal Can Order Your Employer To Take Specific Actions
Will it cost me anything to speak to a solicitor?
No. We always have a solicitor by the phone, ready to listen to your concerns. We do not charge you for an initial chat. If we identify you have a claim for discrimination or unfair treatment, we may be able to offer you a 'no win no fee' agreement. In some cases your household insurance may cover our fees. If you wish to bring an action against your employer but your case is not suitable for a 'no win no fee' agreement or you do not have insurance, our charges are competitive and transparent.
How does a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement work?
If we win your case, you pay us a percentage of your winnings which is normally 35%. If we do not recover any money from your employer, we will not charge you for our services. Either way, you do not end up out of pocket. Contact us to learn more about how the agreement works.
Will I have to go to Court?
Not all employment disputes end up in the Employment Tribunal. We will firstly try to resolve your dispute with your employer. Even if legal action is necessary, we find that most cases are resolved without the need to attend a tribunal hearing.
Where to Bring Your Claim – The Employment Tribunal
In a work situation an Employment Tribunal can decide a complaint that involves Unlawful Discrimination.
Employment Tribunals can also decide cases regarding the following:
- Collective Agreements – Collective Agreements can cover matters such as terms of employment, pay and working conditions.
- Occupational Pensions and Equal Pay Cases
- Job Requirements – when an employer makes it part of the employees job to discriminate against customers, for example; telling the employee not to serve customers with a particular protected characteristic.
You cannot bring a case against your employer for asking questions if the questions have no impact on you personally, for example; the reason as to why you didn’t get the job is clear and is not related to the answers you gave. However, you can bring a case if other unlawful discrimination occurred.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the only entity with the authority to take up the broader case (in the County Court in England or Wales, and the Sheriff Court in Scotland) to challenge the employer just for asking the questions if no individual was unlawfully discriminated against.
If you are a member of the armed services, you can bring your complaint to the Employment Tribunal only after your service complaint has been decided.
Time Limits on Bringing a Claim
Your claim for discrimination or unfair treatment at work must be brought before the Employment Tribunal within three months (less one day) of the occurrence. For example: If the act of unlawful discrimination by your employer took place on 5 May you must notify the Employment Tribunal of your claim, using the proper form, by 4 August at the latest. However, there are two situations where this differs:
- Different time limits apply in equal pay cases
- The time limit is six months (less one day) for cases involving the armed forces.
If you bring your claim after the three month limit has passed, it is up to the Employment Tribunal to decide whether it is fair to everyone concerned to allow your claim to still be brought. Nonetheless, do not assume the tribunal will allow you to bring a late claim. They may deny your claim, resulting in you losing your chance to win your discrimination case.
When a claim concerns discrimination that has been taking place over a period of time, the time limit begins when the period has ended.
An employer operates a mortgage scheme for married couples only. At any time while the scheme continues to operate in favor of married couples, or within three months of the scheme’s cessation, a civil partner would be able to make a claim for unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation discrimination.
If your complaint is about a failure on your employer’s part to take a requested action, for example, the employer fails to make reasonable adjustments; the three months will begin when your employer made the decision to deny your request. If there is no solid evidence of when the employer complied with your request, the decision is assumed to have been made either:
- When the employer clearly shows they don’t intend to comply by doing something different.
- When the employer simply does not comply by the time they would reasonably have been expected to.
A handicapped employee asks their employer to install a wheel-chair ramp for easier access to the entrance. The employer indicates they will do so but a ramp is never installed. After a reasonable period of time has passed in which the employer might have commissioned the work it can be assumed they made the decision not to install a ramp even though the employer may not have made a definite decision not to.
The Employment Tribunal will hear a claim, if it is brought outside the time limit, if the tribunal thinks that it would be ‘just and equitable’ (fair to both sides) for it to do so.
Unfair Treatment and Discrimination Lawyers London
The Standard of Proof in discrimination cases is the customary standard followed in all civil (non-criminal) cases. This means each side must try to prove that the facts of their case are true on the basis of probabilities; meaning, in the view of the tribunal – it is more likely that your version of what happened is true.
When claiming unlawful harassment, discrimination, or victimisation, the burden of proof rests on you. Enough of your facts about the incident must be provable in order to enable the tribunal to make a well informed decision.
Once you have adequately satisfied the burden of proof the burden then shifts to your employer who must show they, or someone for whose actions or omissions they were responsible, did not discriminate, harass or victimise you.
The Tribunal Can Require Your Employer to Take Specific Actions. If you win your case, the tribunal can order what is called a 'Remedy'.
Available Remedies for the Employment Tribunal
The employment tribunal can:
- Make a declaration that your employer has discriminated.
- Award compensation to be paid for the financial loss you have suffered (for example, loss of earnings), and damages for injury to your feelings.
- Make a recommendation requiring your employer to do something specific within a given time to remove or reduce the damage to your reputation the claim has shown to exist.
The Employment Tribunal can require your employer to give you a reference or to reinstate your position if the tribunal believes doing so is prudent despite the previous history.
The Employment Tribunal can make a recommendation requiring your employer to do something specific within a certain time to remove or reduce the negative effects the claim has shown to exist on the broader workforce (though in the case of equal pay). This might be particularly applicable where you have already left the employer so any individual recommendation would be pointless.
- Offering an equal opportunities policy
- Ensuring a more effective harassment policy
- Creating a review panel to handle harassment/grievance and equal opportunities procedures
- Re-training staff, or
- Making its selection standards used for promotion or transfer, public
If your employer does not comply with a recommendation, the tribunal may order them to compensate you, or increase the amount of compensation. Although it is uncommon, the tribunal can also order your employer to pay your legal costs and expenses.
Finally, in cases of “indirect discrimination” when your employer can prove their discriminatory actions were unintentional, the tribunal must consider all of the remedies before looking at damages.
Discrimination and Unfair Treatment Solicitors London
Taking legal action can be a time consuming and stressful experience, therefore, it may be in your best interest to try to settle your dispute directly with your employer in order to avoid a hearing with an Employment Tribunal (or the court when the case relates to an occupational pension scheme).
There are 3 ways you can settle a dispute outside of court or without taking it to the Employment Tribunal:
- Coming to an agreement between you and your employer
- Seeking assistance from Acas Conciliation Service
- Settling by way of a Qualifying compromise agreement
Agreement Between You and Your Employer
Before you issue a claim for unfair treatment at work in the employment tribunal, you can decide to settle the dispute directly with your employer. An agreement to resolve the dispute can include any terms you and your employer agree to. The agreement can cover issues such as: future actions by the employer, compensation, and other lawful matters.
A worker raises a grievance with her employers alleging a failure to make reasonable adjustments. The employer investigates the worker's complaint and upholds her grievance. The employer agrees with the worker to put the practical changes into place and offer a written apology.
Should I seek advice from Acas
Whether or not you have already made a claim to an employment tribunal, you may also seek assistance from Acas which offers a conciliation service for parties in dispute.
An employee raises a complaint with her employer alleging sex discrimination. The employer dismisses her complaint. She requests a hearing with the employment tribunal but before the hearing she seeks assistance from Acas to conciliate in the dispute. As a result of the conciliation, the employee and her employer agree to settle the claim on terms agreeable to both parties.
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