If you have Erb’s Palsy, or any disability, you should be comfortable in your workplace.  You should be afforded the same opportunities as your colleagues, and adjustments should be made to the work environment to facilitate this.

If you suspect you are being discriminated against at work, you should seek advice.

In order to assist employees in understanding discrimination law, here are 5 things that all employees need to know about workplace discrimination.

  1. Type of Discrimination

To take further action, firstly you must figure out which type of discrimination you have experienced. There are a number of ways you can be discriminated against, so it is important to seek early advice to ensure that you know exactly which type applies to your circumstances.

Examples of discrimination include:

  • if a colleague makes a derogatory remark about your Erbs Palsy, this could be harassment.
  • if you are consistently rejected for promotions in favour of able-bodied colleagues, this could be direct discrimination.
  • if a policy is put in place which puts you, and people like you, at a disadvantage compared to colleagues, this could be indirect discrimination.

An employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to reduce disadvantages you, as a disabled employee, may be suffering as a result of a physical structure, policy, criterion, or practice they have in place. For example, you may require adjustments to your workstation to assist you in using the computer, or you may require any absences relating to your disability to not be counted when assessing your sickness absence score.

It is important that, if you are uncomfortable in any way, you raise it with your employer, preferably in writing. If you have any ideas on how your situation could be improved, you must also suggest them. If you do not have any ideas, you could ask for a doctor’s or occupational health assessment to see if any adjustments can be made. If adjustments can be made and your employer refuses to make those adjustments you might then have a claim.

  1. Evidencing discrimination

If your matter gets to a tribunal, you will need to be able to evidence that what you say has happened did, in fact, happen.

Evidence can be anything: for example documents, letters, social media messages, or even a witness in the workplace who could back up your compliant.

Think about the situations which have taken place and make a note of them at the time. If you decide to take legal action, notes from the time of the incident can help keep memories fresh and can also back up your witness statement and so strengthening your case.

Compile this information and events which took place in chronological order, with dates and names.  Try to include any internal policies your workplace has on discrimination.

  1. How to resolve it within the company

If you want to keep working with the employer, it is best to try and resolve the issue informally first. Going in with ‘all guns blazing’ can lead to disagreements and make your working life difficult .

If it cannot be resolved informally, the next step could be to raise a formal written grievance. Once this is raised, your employer has an obligation to deal with the grievance in a fair and balanced manner. To not do so could give rise to further claims.

  1. What to do if you have to take legal action?

If you have tried to resolve the matter internally, both formally and informally, then it could leave you with no choice but to take legal action.

There are several routes you could take, including mediation, making a claim to the employment tribunal, or negotiating an exit from the business. We can advise you on the best route for you, taking into consideration your aims and objectives.

Discrimination law is an extremely complex area of law. Therefore, if you believe you have been a victim of discrimination in the workplace, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Should you have any queries or questions, contact Yunus Lunat directly on 0113 284 5023 or alternatively by email yunus.lunat@isonharrison.co.uk.

Yunus has over 15 years’ experience in employment law and has a particular interest and expertise in discrimination cases and equality and diversity.

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