To help you understand how you are protected and how you can take action against discrimination or bullying in the workplace Stonewall's Information Service, in partnership with Pink Law and Beth Leng from Mischon De Reya Solicitors, has produced 'An overview on employment protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual people'.
For more information on specific aspects of workplace related issues see the right hand side sub heading under Workplace Discrimination.
The legislation defines three types of discrimination at work:
Direct Discrimination: According to the Equality Act, treating people less favourably than others on grounds of sexual orientation constitutes direct discrimination.
Indirect discrimination: This means applying a provision, criterion or practice which disadvantages people of a particular sexual orientation. For example, this could apply if an employer only offers benefits to the heterosexual partners of their employees and not to same-sex partners.
Harassment: The legislation defines harassment as unwanted conduct that violates people’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
The legislation provides protection to lesbian, gay and bisexual workers (aswell as heterosexual people) throughout the entire employment relationship – from recruitment to dismissal. The ban on sexual orientation discrimination applies to terms and conditions, pay, promotions, transfers, training and dismissal.
How you could take action
If you feel that you are experiencing harassment or discrimination, here are some steps you could take:
Employees may need to use the formal grievance process to resolve the discrimination or harassment they are experiencing at work. Click here to see our guide to the process, which also details some alternative courses of action employees can take.
If someone feels they have been discriminated against, for example during a job application process, then they could get the employer to fill in a 'Discrimination and other Prohibited Conduct' form. This is a document which can be used as evidence in any future tribunal cases. The employer does not have to respond but if they do not the court can take this into account in any future case.
You can download these forms and find guidance on how to complete them on the Government Equalities Office website.