What are the signs of unfair treatment at work?
Examples of unfair treatment at work include:
- Not offering somebody a job because of their sexual orientation.
- Overlooking an employee for promotion without good reason.
- Demoting, transferring, or dismissing an employee without following a fair legal process.
- Making offensive jokes and passing them off as ‘friendly banter’.
- Making an employee’s life so difficult they want to leave their job.
- Failing to take reasonable steps to help an employee with a disability.
This list is not exhaustive. Unfair treatment at work is when an employee is treated more unfavourably than other employees.
How does the law protect you from unfair treatment at work?
The Equality Act 2010 protects you from discrimination at work. People cannot be treated unfavourably because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
You cannot be treated unfairly because somebody perceives that you have a protected characteristic, but you do not. You can also not be treated unfairly because you are the friend or relative of somebody with a protected characteristic, or you have challenged your employer about discrimination.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 provides protection rights for employees. These protections relate to unfair dismissal, termination of employment, redundancy rights, time off for parenting, the right to request flexible working hours, protection of wages, Sunday working hours and more.
By law, you cannot be dismissed from your job for any of the following reasons:
- You are pregnant, or you are on maternity leave.
- You have requested parental leave.
- You are a member of a trade union.
- You have taken part in industrial action lasting 12 weeks or less.
- You have requested a legal right, such as to be paid the minimum wage.
- You have ‘blown the whistle’ (which means you have reported a criminal act or a serious health & safety breach at work).
If you feel you have no choice but to leave your job because of something that has happened at work, you may be able to claim compensation for ‘constructive unfair dismissal’.