Discrimination, Harassment and Victimisation

Protected Characteristics

It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees due to their having one or more of the following protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Types of Discrimination

The various forms of discrimination include the following:

  • Direct discrimination 
  • Indirect discrimination 
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation

Direct discrimination

An employee suffers direct discrimination where they are treated less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs where an employer applies a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) which has the effect of disadvantaging a group of people with a particular protected characteristic. Where a particular employee suffers that disadvantage there will be a case for indirect discrimination unless the employer successfully argues the PCP is objectively justified ie that it is proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.


In most cases harassment is made out when an employee suffers unwanted conduct relevant to a protected characteristic which has the purpose or effect of violating the employee’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the employee.


An employee suffers victimisation if subjected by the employer to a detriment because the employee has done a protected act, or because the employer believes the employees has done or may do a protected act. The following are protected acts:

  • Bringing proceedings under the Equality Act 2010
  • Giving evidence or information in connection with proceedings under the Equality 2010, regardless of who brought those proceedings
  • Doing any other thing for the purposes of or in connection with the Equality Act 2010
  • Alleging a contravention of the Equality Act 2010

Why choose OWC?

Discrimination claims can be difficult to bring and the chances of success are greatly improved with expert advice on which type of discrimination applies and what evidence is required.  Our experience will help guide you through the process to a successful outcome. 

Contact our Employment Law Solicitors in London, Surrey and Middlesex

For a free initial phone call to see if we can help you, please contact Jeremy Parkinson on 020 8890 2836, email jeremy.parkinson@owc.co.uk or you can contact us by filling out our online contact form.

Free Initial Phone Call

Your first phone call with us to talk through your employment matter is free of charge and confidential. Phone us now on 0208 890 2836 to discuss how we can help you. Alternatively, please complete our online contact form and we will call back at a time convenient for you.

Free Initial Meeting – Employment Tribunal Claims

Following an initial phone call, if you are considering bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal we may offer a free initial meeting to discuss your case in more detail, including the merits and value of the claim and funding options.

No Win No Fee

In certain cases we can offer a “no win no fee” type arrangement once we have assessed your claim.

Fixed Fee

Often we will be able to agree with you a fixed fee so that you know in advance exactly what our advice or representation will cost.

Key Contacts


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