Sex Discrimination

Equality Matters

Discrimination based on the gender of employees is illegal in the UK, under the Equality Act 2010. The protection afforded by the legislation to employees is extensive and covers not only recruitment, but also in terms of further training and being considered for promotion in the working environment. To find out how we can help, call us on 0131 3413 265 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

We at Employment Law Edinburgh have a long history of working with employees who are concerned that they have been the subject of discrimination because of their gender. Employers are obliged to have a framework in place to guard against instances of gender discrimination, and procedures for dealing with complaints that an individual has been the subject of gender discrimination.

Gender Discrimination is quite complex and does not only cover instances where an individual is treated less well because of their gender, or the gender of those that they have good working relations with. Gender discrimination can include instances where a particular working practice which applies to all employees has a particularly damaging effect on individuals of a specific gender; where an individual is subjected to undesirable behaviour which has a negative impact on them or their environment; or where an employee is treated less well because they have complained of gender discrimination in the past, or have supported another's complaint.

It is always advisable that where you believe that where you believe that you have been the subject of discrimination because of your gender, you should discuss this with your employer. The hope is that the matter can be resolved without the need to resort to more formal legal measures. However if you believe that the matter must be brought before an Employment Tribunal, the team of specialist employment lawyers at Employment Law Edinburgh are ready to assist you. We draw on our insight and expertise in the field to pursue your claim, and aim to provide you with a just and satisfactory outcome.

Sex and Gender Discrimination Advice

If you believe that you have suffered discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of your sex or gender, our team of experienced lawyers can help you get the justice you deserve. We are specialists in acting for employees in sex discrimination cases and will fight to get you the outcome you need to move on with your working life. Such cases can be complicated and bringing a claim may be subject to strict time limits, so it is essential to act quickly. You should get in touch with a specialist employment law solicitor right away, we are here to help. To discuss the specifics of your case with a member of our team get in touch today. We offer a free consultation and can often work on a no-win, no fee basis. You can call us today on 0131 3413 265 or complete our online enquiry form, and we will get back to you right away. 

Gender discrimination is illegal in the UK under the Equality Act 2010. The legislation is very comprehensive and prevents employers from operating discriminatory practices in all dealings with employees, ranging from interviews to recruitment through to promotion to a more senior position.

The team at Employment Law Edinburgh are very familiar with the terms of the Equality Act 2010 and have a lot of experience in assisting people who believe that they have been the subject of Gender Discrimination. Any employer operating in the UK is required by law to ensure that their employment policies treat individuals fairly and equally, regardless of whether they are male or female.

What is sex discrimination? 

It is against the law for your employer to treat you less favourably because of your sex. Sex discrimination can occur at any point during the lifecycle of your work, and can happen during: 

  • Recruitment and selection for a job role
  • When selecting employees for promotion
  • When offering employees training, pay and benefits
  • Redundancy and dismissal
  • Terms and conditions of work
  • Women who are pregnant or on maternity leave are also provided special protection from discrimination at work. 

Gender discrimination can occur in different ways, and the law guards against all of these from happening in the workplace;

Direct Gender Discrimination – this will happen where an employee is treated less well because of their gender, or because of the gender of people that they associate with at work.

Indirect Gender Discrimination – instances of indirect discrimination can include where some working practice or policy is supposed to apply to all employees but has an identifiably detrimental impact on people of one gender.

Harassment – this will happen where an individual is the object of unfavourable behaviour because of their gender. This can either have a negative impact on the individual themselves, or the environment that they work in.

Victimisation - An instance of Victimisation is where someone is treated negatively due to the fact that they had previously made a complaint regarding Gender Discrimination, or they have aided someone else in pursuing a complaint of Gender Discrimination in the workplace.

Equal Pay Claims 

Statistics show that women working full time on average earn 17 per cent less than men. This means that claims against employers for equal pay are common, and if you are being paid less than a colleague because of your sex, you could bring an equal pay claim against your employer.

The Equal Pay Act 1970 and the Equality Act 2010 provide that employers must not give an employee more or less favourable employment contract terms to a person of the opposite sex in the same job role, or in a comparable job. While referred to as equal pay claims, contract terms may include: 

  • basic pay
  • bonuses, 
  • pensions, 
  • A company car, 
  • sick pay, 
  • holidays, 
  • extra allowances, 
  • health insurance, 
  • commission, 
  • pay progression and 
  • severance pay. 

This is not an exhaustive list, and this may include any difference in contract terms. 

How do I bring a claim for Equal Pay? 

Equal pay claims can be complicated, and there are a number of steps involved in establishing that you are in fact the subject of sex discrimination. Our experienced lawyers can help guide you through the process outlined below. 

(1)Identifying an appropriate comparator of the opposite sex

The person you choose as a comparator must work for the same employer as you, and they must have equal work to you in a comparable role. 

(2) Comparison of contract terms

Your terms and conditions of work must be compared to the appropriate comparator, and it then must be shown that your comparator has more favourable contract terms. 

(3) Assessing whether the differences are justified 

At this stage, your employer may seek to argue that these differences are justified. This is referred to as 'the genuine material factor defence'. The tribunal will assess and will establish at the employment tribunal whether the difference in pay is due to sex discrimination.

Are there times when an employer may treat you differently because of your sex?

If an employer can show that you need to be particular sex to do a specific job, known as 'occupational requirement' , they may insist on only employing someone of that sex. A common example is where employers hire female counsellors at a women's refuge. The employer could argue that female clients that have experienced domestic violence may only feel comfortable talking to a woman. 

Contact our Expert Sex and Gender Discrimination Lawyers Today

If an employee believes that they have been the subject of Gender Discrimination, we at Employment Law Edinburgh, powered by Thompsons Solicitors, would always advise that they bring this to their employer's attention. The matter should be addressed informally where possible. However, if someone believes that their situation should be brought to the attention of an Employment Tribunal, the team at Employment Law Edinburgh will be able to help. Our specialist Employment lawyers are well regarded in the field for their expertise in dealing with discrimination cases and will be able to advise on how best to pursue your claim.

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