Have You Been Discriminated Against At Work?

Workplacediscrimination is one of those terms banded around too often which most people don’t fully understand the implications of. Read the facts about employment law in this article and then decide for yourself if you have been victimised.                                                              

Are you jumping to Conclusions?

If you have been dismissed from your job and replaced with someone that you feel lacks your expertise, chance are you will immediately judge things about yourself in the belief that this will have influenced such a decision. These feelings will be particularly strong if the person who has replaced you happens to be a young white male. But are you just jumping to conclusions?

The first thing you need to do is assess whether an actual case of discrimination has occurred in the eyes of the law. No matter how strongly you feel about the situation, it is not illegal for an employer to replace you if there is genuine cause for them to question your ability at performing your job. Regardless of how poorly you feel you’ve been treated, there must be an illegal move on the employer’s part in order for a claim against the company to have any chance of getting yourself compensated and the employer penalised.

It’s also worth taking a moment to be sure that you are not misjudging the situation based on or own feelings of anger. After all, it’s easy to feel mistreated when you are put in a position you don’t like. You must ask yourself honestly if you deserve it.  

So how can anti-discrimination laws help?

UK anti-discrimination laws are in place to assure that no employee can be treated unfairly due to their personal appearance or beliefs. The most frequently reported examples of such discrimination include issues relating to gender, race, ethnicity, disability, nationality and religious belief. These laws apply just as much for an employee being dismissed from a job as they do for being hired.

But discrimination laws do not cover everything!

Anti-discrimination legislation is vigilant against all forms of prejudice in the workplace, but they cannot assist vague cases of discrimination. This could be an occasions in which an employer will use one error an employee makes as an excuse to remove them even if their performance does not warrant a dismissal. It is easy to judge when such an occasion occurs because a warning is almost always necessary before such an action can be undertaken.

However, an employer has the right to fire an employee even if there is no proof that their actions justify direct dismissal. In such a scenario an employee should find as much evidence of unfair behaviour as they can, because without some evidence of unfair intent, there is no guarantee that a case can be won, regardless of how unfair the treatment may appear.  The employer’s motivation must be clearly shown as illegal.

Who do I turn to?

If you are sure that you have been the victim of discrimination, then look no further than contacting an employment lawyer, who will be strive to find you justice. It’s a good idea to give the lawyer as much evidence as you can. This includes drawing up a detailed and accurate timeline of events which begin with the events leading up to your dismissal and the resulting proceedings afterwards. It is also wise to get testimony from your co-workers or friends and family who can attest to the veracity of your statement if they can.   

Act before it’s too late!

Legal cases of discrimination have a time limit so be sure to file it as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more the details of the case can get lost, thereby making you appear insincere in your claim. If you file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of your dismissal you will receive a ‘right to sue’ letter which must be acted upon within 90 days of the issue date. 

Liam Brennan is an employment law blogger. He recommends contacting Nationwide Emmployment Lawyers for emplyment law concerns.

Please note that whilst every effort is made to maintain accuracy of the content in this article; we cannot take responsibility for any errors. This author is not an Employment Lawyer or HR Specialist and this cannot in any way constitute a substitute for Employment Law advice. All facts should be cross-checked against other sources. Should you require specific Employment Law advice, then we recommend that you contact Nationwide Employment Lawyers.