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Dealing with discrimination at work – how to use the grievance procedure

Isabelle with makeup EEA
“I was really stressed because I was being sexually harassed at work, and I worried that complaining would make things worse. But making a complaint using the grievance procedure was the best thing I could have done. My employers investigated and agreed with my complaint. My work apologised to me, re-located me at my request, and gave me some compensation. As for the bullies, the worst offender got the sack and the others got formal warnings.”
Lucy, Ipswich

This guide shows you how to use your work's grievance procedures to deal with problems at work because you are being discriminated against. It can also be used to help you to deal with other sorts of complaints.

Facing problems at work can be daunting and really stressful, especially when you think that the problem involves discrimination. Let Your Work Know What's Going OnPeople often don’t complain about it because they worry it will be seen as an over-reaction, or that complaining will only make things worse. But no one should have to suffer discrimination at work; that is why there are laws to ensure employers put a stop to it. If you are having problems that might be caused by discrimination, you should consider making a complaint. This is often called 'raising a grievance'.

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Jane Bowers with material from Brenda Smith, a caseworker at the London Discrimination Unit, a project within Lambeth Law Centre.

Advicenow would like to acknowledge and thank Amy Woods of Islington Law Centre for her help in updating this guide.

Updated December 2011

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Dealing with discrimination?

Franklyn New

The law protects you from being discriminated against at work because you are in the minority. Don't just put up with it. Our discrimination section explains exactly what discrimination is illegal and what you can do about it. Go to Is that discrimination?

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