Any discrimination or harassment by an individual employee in the course of his employment is treated as also being done by the employer and therefore both employee and employer are liable. However, in certain cases, if the employer can show it took all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the discrimination or harassment from occurring, the employee alone will be liable. This is called a ‘reasonable steps’ defence. It is therefore important to have polices and procedures in place to try to prevent, or at the very least, limit any discrimination.
The law on discrimination is now contained in the Equality Act 2010 and is far reaching. It covers discrimination based on or related to any of the following categories:-
- Religion or Belief
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Sexual Orientation
Moreover, to claim discrimination an employee does not need any minimum level of service. If you would like specialist advice on your procedures dealing with discrimination or do not have any or you currently have an allegation of discrimination in the workplace which you need to deal with and you need specialist employment law advice, please Contact Us for an initial consultation.