Raising an issue informally
If you have reason to believe you are being discriminated against or are experiencing harassment or victimisation at work, the first step is usually to try and resolve this informally with your line manager. Alternatively, you could discuss your concerns with a senior manager or human resources officer, if there is one.
Things to consider:
- Get it clear in your mind what your concerns are and why you feel this is discrimination. Think about how you will demonstrate this
- It might be useful to keep a diary or to note down key events that have taken place, and how this treatment differs from heterosexual employees
- Bring any records you have collected, such as diary notes, to the meeting
- If you don't feel comfortable with a face to face meeting you could send an email or letter
- Keep a record of any meeting you have, including what was said and agreed
- Think about how you want this to be resolved and be willing to discuss solutions
If you are not satisfied with the initial response to your concerns you can raise a formal grievance.
The grievance letter
If your employer has a formal grievance procedure, follow this. You may find details written within your contract or staff handbook. If they don't outline their policy, the first step is to write a letter or email addressing your concerns to a senior manager.
- Provide as much detail as possible, but keep it factual
- Be honest about how this is making you feel
- State why you feel this is discrimination
- State that you wish your concerns to be addressed
- Request a grievance meeting
Workplace mediation can be an effective way to resolve grievances. This is where an impartial person with specific training works with both sides to help them to discuss the issues and try to work towards an effective solution. You could try asking your employer if they would be willing to try mediation as part of the outcome of your grievance.
The grievance meeting
Your employer should invite you to a grievance meeting to discuss your concerns.
- You can take a colleague or Trade Union rep with you if you choose
- This person can ask questions about the investigation but cannot answer anything on your behalf
- Normally you will not be able to take a family member
The outcome of your grievance
Your employer should write to you with their conclusion. If you are not satisfied with their response you are entitled to appeal.
- You will need to write another letter or email stating this and why you wish to appeal. For example, if the investigation failed to take an important piece of information into account
- You should be invited to an appeal meeting. If possible this will be with a more senior manager
If you remain unhappy after the appeal stage you could seek action through an employment tribunal. In most cases you must submit your claim within three months of either the date that your employment ended (if this is the case) or the matter you are complaining about (or the last act in a chain of events) happened.