What can I do if I feel that I have been discriminated against?

picture of an upset man

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. For further information on the definition of disability, see the Equality Act Guidance.

If you feel you have been treated unfairly there a number of steps that you can take. You can speak to an advisor at an advice agency such as your local citizens advice bureau or you can call the Equality Advice Support Service (EASS) who can advise and assist people on issues relating to equality and human rights.

If you need employment advice, ACAS provide free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. You can call their helpline on 0300 123 1100.

If you can’t sort out the problem at work, you may be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal. You should use the ACAS free Early Conciliation service before applying to a tribunal. In most cases the tribunal must receive your claim within three months of the dispute.

Making a complaint

There are several steps that you can take when making a complaint.

  • Complain directly to the person or organisation. You can write a formal letter or complaint. Your letter should also say what you would like to happen next. For example: an apology; changes to the way they do things; money as compensation. You can use a template form available from the Equality Advisory Support Service.
  • You can ask someone else to help you sort it out. Some mediation services offer free or subsidised mediation. Contact the Scottish Mediation Network.
  • An advocate can support you to say what you want to say, or will say what you want to say, when you are not able to do so. Contact the Scottish Independent Advocacy Service.
  • Make a claim in Court. Be aware that if you do decide to make a claim in court, you need to tell the court about your claim (by filling in a form and paying a fee) within six months of what happened. Information about how to make claim in Scotland can be found on the Scottish Courts Service website.

You do not have to choose only one of these. Instead, you could try each of them in turn. You can, if you want to, make a claim in court straight away. Do think very carefully about whether making a claim in court is the right course of action for you. Making a claim may be demanding on your time and emotions, and before starting the process you may want to look at whether or not you have a good chance of succeeding.

If you need further information, or help to contact your local advice service please call our helpline on 0300 323 9961.