If you feel you have been discriminated by your employer or a fellow employee in the workplace based on your gender you may be able to claim compensation for sex discrimination.
Men and women must be treated equally and not discriminated against when it comes to employment, vocational training, promotion, pay and working conditions in the workplace.
If you make a claim and are successful an employment tribunal will award you compensation and can also make a declaration of the rights you have and make recommendations as to what steps your employer should do to reduce the effect of the discrimination.
The Relevant Law
The relevant law to protect you against being discriminated in the workplace is the Equality Act 2010. The Equal Pay Act 1970 also protects employees from being discriminated against on grounds of sex specifically relating to pay.
Have I been discriminated against?
The law prevents an employer from doing the following:
- directly discriminating against an employee or job applicant by treating them less favourably than others on grounds of sex.
- indirectly discriminating against an employee or job applicant by putting in place a provision, practice or criteria which puts one sex at a disadvantage to the other without being able to objectively justify this.
- harassing a job applicant or employee in relation to sex, or treating them less favourably because they rejected or submitted to the harassment.
- victimising an employee or job applicant because they made or intend to make a complaint about sex discrimination.
- paying a female employee who is doing equal work or work which is rated equal value less than a male employee or vice versa.
There are two exceptions where an employer is permitted to discriminate against an employee on grounds of sex where:
- the job requires an employee to be a particular sex.
- an employer reasonably thinks that an employee who possesses a particular characteristic is at a disadvantage and so takes steps to help them overcome that disadvantage.
I feel I have been discriminated because of my sex, can I claim?
Are you protected?
The law only protects certain categories of individuals. The most obvious category is employees are protected against sex discrimination. However, other individuals who are also protected include:
- Job applicants,
- Agency workers and other contract workers,
- Barristers and advocates,
- Those people on work experience placements,
- Office holders
- Those seeking or holding professional qualifications
- Members of a Trade Union
- Members of Local Authorities
To be considered an “employee” for the purposes of being able to make a claim you must have a contract of employment, a contract of apprenticeship, or a contract where you personally do the work for another individual. This contract can be in writing or orally.
Are you within the time limit?
To make a claim you must submit it to the Employment Tribunal within three months starting from when the date of when the discriminating act took place. If the discrimination has been ongoing for a certain period then the three months starts from the end of that period.
Therefore, you are entitled to bring a claim for sex discrimination if you are:
- an “employee” or fall into one of the above categories
- you have been directly or indirectly discriminated against because of your sex, victimised or harassed; and
- are within the three month time limit.