Discrimination in the workplaceWhat counts as discrimination in the workplace?

Discrimination in the workplace can occur in many different ways, and can either be direct or indirect. However, there are laws against discrimination that cover all aspects relating to employment, including recruitment, promotion, and work-related matters after the employment has ended. Employers can be liable for the discriminatory actions of people outside their company (such as recruitment agencies) as well as the discriminatory actions of people in the company. Employees, consultants, agency workers, and freelancers are all protected by the law in the Equality Act 2010.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 aims to improve fairness as well as equal job opportunities for both employees and job applicants. The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against people in the workplace based on nine specified ‘protected characteristics’:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Disability discrimination in the workplace

Where there is a disabled employee, employers must make reasonable adjustments to the work environment where necessary. The intended purpose is to remove as many obstacles as possible that could prevent the employee from carrying out their work. The adjustments may involve physical changes to the office space in regards to easing access, or may involve changes to the employee’s work schedule, such as working hours, rest breaks, tasks, or training.

Employers must follow certain steps in a reasonable and practicable manner in order to ensure that the adjustments are made. What constitutes as reasonable depends on a range of factors, such as the employer’s resources, the employee’s disability, the size and impact of the requested adjustments, and whether the requested adjustments are above what is required.

It is important to note that if employers are aware of the challenges facing disabled employees and do not take the steps to make reasonable adjustments, they may be liable for discrimination in the workplace.

Race discrimination in the workplace

It is illegal under the Equality Act 2010 to discriminate against people because of their race. Race discrimination includes discrimination on the grounds of colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, and race.

Nowadays, many workplaces reflect a multi-cultural society. However, despite all of this, many people are still subject to race discrimination in the workplace every year.

Who is eligible to make a claim under discrimination in the workplace?

An employee is not required to have been employed for any minimum length of time before they can make a discrimination claim. Therefore, a discrimination claim can be made at any stage of employment.


It is important to note that there is no cap on the amount of compensation that a tribunal can award for discrimination claims.

How can NA Law Solicitors help?

As specialists in employment law, we can help you if you have faced discrimination in the workplace. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this article or have specific queries about your employment matter, please do not hesitate to contact us for a 15-minute telephone consultation.

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