PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NOW KNOWN AS - Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality and Diversity Council - since 29 April 2015
 
 
DISCRIMINATION SERVICE
 
PLEASE NOTE:  As from 01 April 2012 we will no longer be able to provide the Legal Casework Service, as our current funders, Equality and Human Rights Commission will not be funding this project.  Therefore this service ended on 31 March 2012.  
 
We will try and gain future funding from other sources. 
 
If you do require any advice relating to Discrimination  please contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission direct, by clicking on the link; http://www.equalityhumanrights.com    

Equality Advisory Support Service

The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) is an advice service aimed at individuals who need expert information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues and the applicable law, particularly when this is more than advice agencies and other local organisations can provide.
 
The EASS was commissioned by Government in 2012 to replace the EHRC Helpline, which is now closed. The EHRC is no longer able to respond to individual enquiries as the EASS has taken over this role. Information about the decision to close the Helpline is available on the Government Equalities Office website.
 
The service is run by Sitel working with Disability Rights UK and other partners. The EASS works collaboratively with other advice organisations from whom it receives referrals, and with the EHRC. It does this by referring on potential test cases and sharing information to inform the EHRC's wider work on equality and human rights. Information is only passed on with the consent and knowledge of the individual concerned.
 

The EASS can:

  • Give bespoke advice to individuals across the whole of Great Britain on discrimination issues
  • Explain legal rights and remedies within discrimination legislation, across the three nations
  • Explain options for informal resolution and help people to pursue them
  • Refer people who cannot or do not wish to go down this road to conciliation or mediation services
  • Help people who need or want to seek a legal solution by helping to establish eligibility for legal aid and, if they are not eligible, to find an accessible legal service or to prepare and lodge a claim themselves

But it cannot:

  • Provide legal advice
  • Provide representation in any legal proceedings
  • Provide advice on court or tribunal procedures once a claim has been issued
  • Advise on the strength of a case or the evidence needed to prove a case
  • Provide advice to employers
  • Provide advice to solicitors and other professional advisors

Contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS)

The contact details for the service are:

Phone: 0808 800 0082
Textphone: 0808 800 0084

Website: http://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/

Post: FREEPOST Equality Advisory Support Service FPN4431
 

Opening hours:

09:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday
10:00 to 14:00 Saturday
Closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays  
 
Many thanks to all our users and partners of the Service.
 

Useful Information;

EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
 
It is illegal to discriminate against people at work on the grounds of:
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS
 
Age Discrimination
Employees, trainees and jobseekers are protected against direct and indirect discrimination in the workplace. The Regulations remove the upper age limit on unfair dismissal and redundancy. It is now illegal on the grounds of age to:
  • Refuse you promotion or training
  • Refuse you employment or dismiss you
  • Offer you adverse terms and conditions
  • Retire you before your normal retirement age (if you have one) or before the default retirement age of 65 without objective justification
  • Subject an employee to workplace harassment
  • Victimise an employee because he has made a complaint under the relevant legislation
  • Refuse to give you the right to request to work beyond 65 or any other retirement age set by the company.
Disability Discrimination
Disabled employees are protected against direct discrimination in the workplace and occupation. It is unlawful on the grounds of disability to:
  • Directly discriminate against a disabled person
  • Treat you less favourably for a reason related to your disability (unless it can be justified)
  • Refuse to make reasonable adjustments in the recruitment and employment of disabled people.
Race Discrimination
It is unlawful to treat a person less favourably than others on the grounds of their race. This covers discrimination in the workplace, education, housing and access to goods and services. The legislation protects you from:
  • Direct discrimination: being treated less favourably on racial grounds.
  • Indirect discrimination: your employer applying a practice/ procedure which may favour one racial group.
  • Harassment: unwanted conduct that violates your dignity and creates a hostile and degrading environment.
  • Victimisation: suffering unfair treatment because you have made a complaint about racial discrimination religion.
Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief
It is now unlawful to discriminate against employees because of their religion or similar philosophical belief. Exceptions are made if there is a genuine occupational requirement for the worker to be a particular religion/ belief to do the job. The legislation protects you from:
  • Direct discrimination: being treated less favourably than others because of your religion or belief.
  • Indirect discrimination: your employer applying a criterion/ practice/ provision which disadvantages people of a particular religion or belief unless it can be objectively justified.
  • Harassment: unwanted conduct that violates your dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment having regard to all the circumstances and the perception of the victim.
  • Victimisation: suffering unfair treatment because you have made a complaint about discrimination on the grounds of your religion.
  • Discrimination or harassment in certain circumstances after the working relationship has ended.
Gender Discrimination
It is unlawful for employers to discriminate on the grounds of sex, marriage or because someone intends to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone gender re-assignment. The legislation protects you from:
  • Direct discrimination: being treated less favourably than others on the grounds of your gender. This includes training, terms and conditions, pay and termination of a contract.
  • Indirect discrimination: your employer applies criterion, provision or practice which disadvantages people of a particular sex unless it can be objectively justified (i.e. Job related).
  • Harassment: unwanted conduct that violates your dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading humiliating or offensive environment having regard to all the circumstances and the perception of the victim.
  • Victimisation: suffering unfair treatment because you have made a complaint about discrimination on the grounds of sex, marriage or gender re-assignment.
Discrimination on the grounds of Sexual Orientation
It is now unlawful to discriminate against employees or attendees of vocational training on the grounds of their sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or their association with others of a perceived sexual orientation. The legislation protects you from:
  • Direct discrimination: being treated less favourably than others because of your sexual orientation
  • Indirect discrimination: your employer applying a criterion, practice or provision which disadvantages people of a particular sexual orientation unless it can be objectively justified.
  • Harassment: unwanted conduct that violates your dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for you, having regard to all the circumstances including your perception
  • Victimisation: suffering unfair treatment because you have made or intend to make a complaint or allegation or have given or intend to give evidence in relation to a complaint of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation
  • When employment has ended: discriminate against you, in certain circumstances, after the working relationship has ended i.e. Bad reference
 HUMAN RIGHTS
 
What are my human rights?
 
 
 
Why are human rights relevant to me?
 
Human rights are there to protect everyone. You can make a claim against a public authority that has breached your rights and you can use human rights arguments to lobby the government and local authorities for better services.
 
 
Can I make a claim for a violation of a human right?
 
Anyone present in the UK can claim a breach of human rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.
  • You do not need to be a British citizen.
  • A claim can be brought by a child or an adult.
  • Companies and non-governmental organisations can bring a claim.

However you must be able to show that you are a victim or a potential victim of the human rights violation

 
 
Can I claim against anyone?
 
No, you can only claim against public authorities such as:
  • Government departments including the police and the military
  • Local authorities
  • Schools
  • NHS trusts
  • Courts and tribunals
 
How long do I have to make a claim?
 
If you would like to claim judicial review you have only 3 months from when the right was broken. If you are successful the court can make the public authority take action to stop your human rights being violated.
 
You also have up to a year after the violation to make a claim for compensation; however the court will not always give compensation even if they decide in your favour.
 
 
I think I have a claim
 
Legal proceedings can be expensive so we would recommend you get advice from a citizens advice bureau, law centre or solicitor if you think your human rights have been breached.
 
Any decision by an Employment Tribunal must follow the principles laid out in the Convention for Human Rights. If you are being discriminated against, it may well be that your human rights have been breached as well.
 
The Human Rights Act affords people extra protection and may be used to strengthen your case if you decide to take court action.
 
The Human Rights Act is one of the most significant pieces of legislation passed in the UK. The Act makes rights from the European Convention on Human Rights into a form of higher law in the UK.
 
Provisions within the Act deal with work-related matters and are designed to protect you as an employee. It is unlawful for a public sector employer to violate your rights unless legislation means it has no choice. You cannot make a claim against an employer for breach of human rights. However, human rights law has been incorporated into general employment law (i.e. not discriminated against because of your sexual orientation) and applies to all employers.)
 
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS IN THE WORKPLACE?

Right to a private and family life
  • You have the right to some privacy in the workplace. You cannot be monitored everywhere. Your employer has the right to monitor communications in the workplace as long as you are aware of the monitoring before it takes place i.e. emails, internet access, telephone calls, data and images.
  • You have the right to see any information held about you (for example, emails or CCTV footage).
  • Drug testing employees is a sensitive matter. Searches should respect privacy (i.e. be carried out by a member of the same sex) and take place with a witness present.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM
 
If you believe you have been discriminated against or your Human Rights have been breached you should:
  • Firstly, try and sort the problem out informally. Talk to your colleagues, line manager, trade union representative, personnel department or your employer to try and resolve the matter. The problem may be a mistake or simple misunderstanding. Keep notes in case you need to establish what was discussed later.
  • If you are still unhappy, you can follow the internal grievance procedure in your contract or written statement of employment. If you haven’t got a copy of your employer’s procedure, ask for one.
  • You should follow certain statutory steps when invoking a grievance before you can bring a claim to a tribunal:
    • Written complaint – clearly explain the problem.
    • Hearing and Discussion – your employer should invite you to a hearing. You can attend with a colleague or trade union representative. The employer will come to a decision: usually about five days after the meeting.
    • Appeal – if you are unhappy with the decision, you can appeal. The appeal hearing is usually a more senior investigator than the original one (unless it is a small company). There is no further right to appeal under your employer’s grievance procedure.
    • If you are not satisfied with the grievance procedure, you must then decide if you want to take it further.
TIME LIMITS FOR BRINGING A CLAIM TO THE
EMPLOYMENTS TRIBUNAL
 
There are strict time limits for bringing legal action which often means that you need to act quickly to ensure you do not lose your rights.
 
The Employment Act 2000 requires that a discrimination claim be submitted to an Employment Tribunal three months less a day from the last discriminatory act to be complained of.
 
In very limited circumstances, time limits may be extended for a further three months where it would be ‘just and equitable’ to do so.
 
 
 
 
For more information/resources please click on the following links: