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Discrimination at work - what can you do about it?

Discrimination at work can mean you lose out on opportunities - like a promotion, training, or a pay rise. It can make work stressful and intimidating. It might even have stopped you from getting the job in the first place. But you don’t have to put up with it. If you’re being discriminated against at work, you have a number of choices.

You could:

  • Have a word informally with your manager or, if it’s your manager who is the problem, someone more senior or someone in HR.
  • Make a formal complaint to your employer (called, ‘a grievance’). See Be prepared!.
  • Ask Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), or the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) in Northern Ireland, to help you and your employer find a solution you’re both happy with. See (Taking action) for more on conciliation.
  • Bring a claim in an employment tribunal (in Northern Ireland an industrial tribunal or the fair employment tribunal). See Taking action.
  • Ask to be moved to a different team or a different site.
  • Do nothing.

You’ll need to think about the pros and cons before you decide what action to take. But it's also a good idea to talk to an adviser before you do anything - they can help you to work out what's best for you. See 'Get advice!'

Time limits
If you have been discriminated against, you will usually have three months from when it happened to make a claim to an employment tribunal. So, don’t leave it too late!

March 2010

Get advice

Need help with a problem? Find advice services and solicitors near you who can help you solve your problem. Many people are able to get free help and advice.

Is that fair?


The new Equality Act comes into force from this October. Discrimination is completely unfair and often it's against the law. Our guide highlights your new rights and helps you to recognise when someone might be discriminating against you.

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