Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace

Everyone is entitled to be able to go to work without being subject to abuse or victimisation. If this is not the case and you find yourself picked on or discriminated against, at work, because of your sexuality then you are entitled bring a complaint before the Employment Tribunal and to seek compensation for the upset and distress you may have suffered. It’s the Law.

Since 1st December 2003 it has been unlawful to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation. This means that if you suffer insult, abuse, or discrimination you may be entitled to compensation.

The law doesn’t just protect you from name calling and exclusion by your colleagues; if you have been passed over for promotion and you suspect it is because of your sexuality you may have a claim.

The law also protects and assists you even if you are not employed so if you suspect that you didn’t get a job because of your sexuality, again you may have a claim.

What is discrimination?

Any person is covered by the following types of discrimination;

* Direct Discrimination – this is where one person treats another person less favourably than he would someone else.

* Indirect Discrimination –a provision, criterion or practice for one individual, but not another, based upon sexual orientation that cannot be justified.

* Victimisation – this is where one person treats another person less favourably than he would another because that person has brought proceedings against anybody under the EE(SO)R, or given evidence or information in proceedings under the EE(SO)R,

* Harassment – this is where one person subjects another to “unwanted conduct” which affects that person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person

So who is covered?

The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (EE(SO)R) covers the sexual orientation of “persons of the same sex, persons of the opposite sex and persons of the same sex and of the opposite sex”. As such the legislation extends to bisexuals, gay and straight people.

If you think you have been the victim of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation then you must lodge your claim with the Employment Tribunal within three months of the last act of discrimination. Damages you may receive are unlimited and are based on injury to feelings and loss of earnings.

For free initial advice on bringing a claim for discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation please contact Mark Anderson of Gartons Solicitors on 0113 2310766 or email him at


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