Sex Discrimination at Work

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Sexual discrimination at work is against the law in England and Wales. This means that an employer cannot discriminate against you because of your sex, and this applies to men and women equally.

If you think your employer is discriminating against you because of your sex, you can do something about it and make a claim against them. This is also true if you are facing sex discrimination from colleagues at work. Your employer has a legal responsibility to protect you from this type of treatment so you can still make a claim. In some circumstances, you can include the individual who is discriminating against you because of your sex in the claim along with your employer.

Call our specialist Employment Law Solicitors for free initial legal advice on your position so that you can understand if your employer’s actions are sex discrimination.

We may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis - ask us for details.

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More Information on Sex Discrimination at Work

Sex discrimination is when your employer treats you differently because of your sex, whether male or female. A man can discriminate against another man and in the same way, a woman can discriminate against a woman.

Sex discrimination in the workplace is against the law and you can make a claim against your employer if you are facing sexual discrimination at work.

There are four main types of sex discrimination. They are:

Direct Discrimination – This is where your employer treats you differently and less favourably because of your sex. You can suffer direct discrimination in three different ways. They are:

  • Being treated less favourably or differently because of your own sex
  • Being treated differently or less favourably because of your perceived sex
  • Being treated less favourably or differently because of your association with someone of a certain sex.

Indirect Discrimination – This can happen when your employer has a policy or practice in the workplace which applies to everyone there, but leaves you at a disadvantage because of your sex. A good example of this would be a job advertisement where there was a need to be at least 6ft tall. A lot more men than women would meet that criteria.

To show indirect discrimination, you must demonstrate how you’ve been left at a disadvantage and how others of the same sex would also be disadvantaged.

Harassment – Again, you can face harassment at work because of your sex in three different ways. They are:

  • Having unwanted conduct, which is because of your sex and is offensive, distressing or humiliating
  • Any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. This is Sexual Harassment at Work
  • Being treated less favourably because you have been the victim of sexual harassment or you rejected it.

Victimisation - This is when you are being treated unfairly because you made a complaint about sex discrimination or because you supported someone else who did.

In some very limited circumstances, some jobs can specifically ask for male or female candidates because of the role. This is known as an Occupational Requirement. This could include a female only job holder working with women who’ve faced domestic abuse.

What Can You Do about Sex Discrimination at Work?

Employers have a duty of care to their employees, so if you have experienced sexual discrimination in the workplace which can be proven, you can make a claim against your employer.

You should start by talking to your immediate manager or HR Department, if you have one, to explain the issues you’re facing. If you’re not comfortable doing this then call our Employment Lawyers and we’ll be happy to help you.

Your employer may have specific policies or procedures in place to deal with sex discrimination, so read these if they are available. If you don’t feel that has resolved the issue, you should follow your employer’s grievance procedures. This will probably involve putting your complaint in writing and allowing them time to investigate.

If you still don’t feel that your complaint has been dealt with properly, you can make a claim at an Employment Tribunal. You can make a sex discrimination claim against your employer whether or not you are still employed there.

Sexual discrimination in the workplace can occur during the recruitment and selection process, in deciding your pay or terms and conditions of employment, in being selected for training or development, promotion selection, redundancy selection or even dismissal.

Claim Time Limits

There are strict time limits in place when making a sexual discrimination claim against your employer. Time limits mean you only have three months from the date of the less favourable treatment or from the last in the series of events to bring your claim. This can include up to three months after you stopped working for your employer.

To start your claim in an Employment Tribunal, you need to have completed the ACAS Early Conciliation process. This is to try to resolve your claim before you go to the Employment Tribunal. Once the process is completed, ACAS will give you a certificate and you can start your claim at the Employment Tribunal. The time limits are paused whilst you complete this ACAS Early Conciliation process.

Making the decision to make a claim against your employer can be difficult. Talk through your options with one of our specialist Employment Law Solicitors. Ask if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

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