Discrimination (which includes victimisation) covers detrimental treatment because of sex, race, disability, age, religion or belief, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity or sexual orientation. If you are treated less favourably because of an association with someone who has a protected characteristic (eg your partner is black or your child is disabled) then this may amount to discrimination. Likewise, if you are treated badly by someone who believes you to be gay or of a particular religion, then you will be protected even if you are not in fact gay or of that particular religion.
This is unwanted offensive behaviour related to sex, race, disability, age, religion or belief, gender reassignment or sexual orientation (eg unwanted sexual advances, homophobic abuse). If you are suffering from bullying and harassment at work not related to one of these areas you will not be able to claim discrimination but if the bullying and harassment is sufficiently serious it could lead to a constructive dismissal complaint (see unfair dismissal ).
Discrimination can be direct, or indirect which is where an employer applies a practice which causes a disadvantage to someone because of their sex, race, age, disability, religion or belief, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership or sexual orientation (eg a requirement for a woman to work full-time). Indirect discrimination is lawful if your employer can justify the practice. Direct age discrimination is also lawful if justified.
Failure to make Reasonable Adjustments
Employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that employment arrangements do not disadvantage disabled employees.
This is where your employer treats you badly because of a complaint of discrimination made either by you or by someone else, or because your employer believes that you or someone else has made or may make a complaint.
Bringing an Employment Tribunal Claim
There is no qualifying period of employment before you can bring a claim for discrimination. You are protected from discrimination from when you apply for a job and throughout your employment. You do not have to resign to make a claim for discrimination.
In most cases it is advisable to send a written grievance to your employer before you submit a claim to the employment tribunal. From May 2014 you also need to contact ACAS before a claim can be submitted.
In all cases there are strict time limits so it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.