It’s a sad fact that thousands of disabled people are discriminated against in the workplace every year. In the working world, discrimination can come in a range of shapes and sizes – whether because of bullying or harassment at work or due to employer procedures that don’t offer the same opportunities to everyone.
If you think you’ve been discriminated against at work, it’s essential to know where you stand. Here’s what you should do.
1 – Don’t do nothing
If discrimination arises, the very worst thing you can do is nothing at all. Even in the unlikely event that your employer isn’t found to be discriminating against you, it’s important to raise the issues you have for your peace of mind.
Don’t suffer in silence – talk to workmates, friends and family and let them know what you’re going through. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.
2 – Complain informally
The best way to let your employer know about your circumstances is to speak to someone at your company about what you’re going through. Let your line manager know about your issues and provide written confirmation of the complaints you’ve brought about and what happened during the meeting. Many people find that issues at work can be easily eradicated with a productive informal meeting.
Ensure that the person you speak to isn’t directly involved in the discrimination or the meeting may become personal and less productive.
However, because discrimination is such a serious issue, some employers prefer a more formal meeting from the outset to ensure that the problem is addressed properly.
3 – Complain formally
If your informal meeting doesn’t resolve your problems, you should bring your discrimination case to your company formally in an Employment Tribunal. Write a dated letter stating your grievance to your company’s HR or personnel department and use as much detail as possible.
You can enlist the help of your trade union to draft a letter and act alongside you during the process. You’ll then have a meeting with representatives where you can state your problems in person and detail how you’d like the matter to be resolved.
After this process, your work will let you know how they intend to deal with the problem and you can appeal against the decision, or go to an employment tribunal.
4 – Use an employment tribunal
If you’re still not happy with how your work have dealt with your discrimination case, you can take them to an employment tribunal. It does cost £1200 to make a discrimination claim to this independent tribunal, although you may be able to get financial help, depending on your circumstances. It’s also important to note that you’re not guaranteed to win.
You need to act quickly: complaints at employment tribunals must be made no later than 3 months after the initial complaint.
If you’re making a claim through an employment tribunal it’s important to seek the help of trusted legal professional who can represent you. It’s important to attend the tribunal hearing, otherwise it could be held without you. If you were found to have no good reason to miss the meeting you could be awarded less compensation.
Author – Howells Solicitors specialise in helping disabled people with discrimination cases. If you’ve faced harassment at work because of your disability, they can help you to fight bullying by representing you at an employment tribunal. Find out more by visiting Howells online today.
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