Discrimination in the workplace can be ugly and costly if not dealt with in a timely and sensitive way. It can take many forms: gender, sexual orientation and gender reassignment; race; disability; religion; belief and age.
Within our full-service employment team, we have discrimination specialists who can help you manage cases and the unavoidable risks they entail. We won't ever tell you there's nothing that can be done - even with the most entrenched issue we help find a way through.
Having your ducks in a row can prevent difficult issues arising. We provide bespoke training at your premises on keeping policies and procedures up-to-date and understanding the risk areas. Because we know it can be daunting to receive a claim, we also train senior management on dealing with the worst case scenario. For example, we have recently provided interactive training sessions on diversity, equal opportunities and mental health using actors for 'real life' case studies, with psychologists as guest speakers.
When carrying on to a hearing isn't the right solution, we come up with innovative alternatives. We advised a client facing a race discrimination claim to write a letter to the claimant inviting him to join the company's diversity forum to help the company develop a diversity policy. As a result, the claimant dropped the case before it went to court.
However, sometimes you can't avoid a fight. We understand that discrimination cases can be serious and attract uncapped payouts.
But we have a strong track-record. When working for a large telecoms company we secured strike-out of a potentially damaging discrimination claim at a preliminary hearing. We then guided our client through the expected constructive dismissal and sex discrimination claim which followed.
Our work behind the scenes during the grievance process put our client in the best possible position to defend the claim successfully or to secure a low value commercial settlement at an early stage.
We handle cases where mental health conditions prevent claimants from seeing the situation objectively. When advising on a race discrimination case, we received aggressive correspondence from a claimant on a daily basis. While robustly preparing for tribunal, we also built a case for a strike-out due to the claimant's behaviour. Following a particularly offensive email from the claimant one week before the hearing, we quickly turned round an application and were successful in getting the claim struck out.
Equality in the provision of goods and services is becoming a bigger issue and is often reported in the press. We have worked with clients in the hospitality and leisure sector to resolve issues relating to access to premises, as well as accessibility requirements in relation to websites.
The only team of its kind in the UK, our combined human resources solutions team offers a dual approach to pensions and employment. It helps devise solutions such as non-discriminatory benefits following the removal of the default retirement age.
We have strong expertise in the area of age discrimination, regularly advising, writing and training on the subject. We have a core "All about age" team, which analyses the latest case law and remains ahead of the curve in terms of developments, advising and updating employers accordingly.
With the introduction of tribunal fees, it has been widely publicised that tribunal cases are in decline.
However, headline-grabbing discrimination cases are ever-present and draw attention to employee rights.
The Equality Act 2010 consolidated existing discrimination legislation to make it easier for employers to understand their obligations. But it also added new layers of complication. As disputes in this area can involve disproportionate amounts of management time, we navigate the tricky issues on your behalf, freeing you up to focus on other matters. This approach takes the strain of what can be a very sensitive issue away from those involved and helps minimise your cost and time expenditure.