Discrimination: Legal action

The Equality Act 2010 states that you can’t be discriminated against based on your gender. This Act makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone. You may be able do something if you’ve been discriminated against.

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You can file a claim for compensation if you feel discriminated against.

This page will explain the steps and procedures you must follow to file a discrimination case in court. A solicitor may be able to help you verify your claim. Although this can be costly, depending on your situation legal aid may be possible.

How to decide whether to file a discrimination case

  • Before you file a claim, prepare
  • You can resolve your case without having to go to court

Always consider other options before you resort to going to court. Mediation is a better option than court action and will be less expensive.

Discriminating against someone because they have a protected characteristic is generally illegal. The Equality Act protects the following characteristics. These protected characteristics include:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership (in employment only)
  • Maternity and pregnancy
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

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Contact the person or organization against which you wish to file a claim. You must inform the person or organization against whom you are taking action that you wish to do so. This should be done by writing a letter to the person or organization. The letter should contain details about what has happened and the reasons for your suspicions of unlawful discrimination. The defender is the person or organization you wish to sue.

You should write back to the defender to clarify their position. This will allow you to both determine if you can come to an agreement without having to go to court.

  • Step 1: Do you need to go to court?

It can be stressful and time-consuming to take legal action in court. It can also be costly. You may also have to pay legal fees if the case is lost in court.

You should seek the advice of an experienced advisor if you are considering taking legal action. The following information may assist you in making a decision about what next.

  • Step 2: Check if discrimination has occurred

You must be able to prove that you are a victim of unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act in order to bring court action. Check out the list of types of discrimination.

These are the main types of discrimination:

Direct discrimination is when someone treats another person more favorably than they would or treat them. A claim for unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 is only admissible if you can show that the less favorable treatment is due to a protected characteristic about you. Your association with another person who has a protected characteristic may also lead to less favorable treatment. If you’re a caregiver, you could be discriminated against based on who you care for or how others perceive them.

Indirect discrimination is when a provision or criterion applies in the same manner to everyone. This puts groups with protected characteristics at a disadvantage relative to those who don’t share them. To make a claim, you must prove that one of your protected characteristics resulted in you being at a disadvantage.

  • Step 3 – Finding information that will support your discrimination case

You can call the Equality Advisory Support Service’s helpline for general information on what to do next. Learn more about the Equality Advisory Support Service.

  • Step 4: Which court hears discrimination cases?

A sheriff court can hear a discrimination case.

  • Step 5: Check the time limit for filing your claim

You must appear in court within a certain time limit. Your claim must be filed within six months of the date you are complaining about.

If you complain about behavior over a 6-month period, the 6-month period begins at the beginning of that period.

A court may allow a claim to be filed outside of the prescribed time limit, but only if it finds it fair and equitable.

Are you eligible for legal aid?

Start court prceedings by issuing claim forms. You can either do this on paper at your local sheriff court, or online at Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service. You will usually have to pay a fee. The simple procedure can be used if your case is not complex and has a value below PS5,000. This procedure does not require the use of a solicitor. A lay representative can help you.

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You should seek legal advice if your claim exceeds PS5,000 as you might have to use an ordinary court procedure.

It might be difficult to explain a claim of unlawful discrimination. It is important to seek the advice of an experienced advisor to help you determine which procedure you will need.

What information you need to include in your claim form?

The court and the defense attorney will need to know why you are taking legal action. You will need to fill out a section of the court form that is specific to your case. If you are seeking legal assistance, this will also be completed. You’ll need to describe what happened and why this violates the Equality Act.

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What’s next?

After you have filed your claim before the court, the next step is to see how the defender responds.

 

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