I feel that I have been treated differently because of my identity

This guide relates to adult services and is for guidance only. If you need legal advice, please contact a legal service.

Under the Equality Act 2010 certain characteristics are protected from discrimination – these are known as ‘protected characteristics’.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against because of your identity you can raise a complaint. Local authorities have complaints procedures you can follow, as do NHS organisations and most charities and private care providers. You will need to be prepared to prove the discrimination against you such as having recorded evidence or witnesses.

Discrimination in the workplace

I may be facing workplace discrimination based on my disability or mental health needs.

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because of your disability or mental health needs. You are protected under the Equality Act (2010) and Human Rights Act (1998) Article 14; prohibition of discrimination.

You have the right to approach your employer about this. This can be done informally or you can raise a grievance.

For further guidance you should contact your HR department or ACAS.

Watch a video on workplace discrimination and protected characteristics (Credit: ACAS)

Is it harder for you to do your job because of your disability?

Under the Equality Act 2010 all employers have a duty to reduce the barriers that you face in employment because of your disability and to make reasonable adjustments.

This includes providing specially adapted equipment, alternative duties and flexible working hours, and you have the right to ask for these.

Sometimes it is not possible to make the adjustments needed, but as long as the employer has done everything they can, they are not discriminating.

The Access to Work scheme can contribute towards funding for reasonable adjustments based on their assessment.

The employee is required to make contact with Access to Work rather than the employer.

If reasonable adjustments are not made then you should speak to your HR department or contact ACAS.

If there is a genuine reason that relates to your impairment, which makes it difficult for you to follow company policy then this can be seen as indirect discrimination.

  • Example 1: Your role requires you to start working early in the morning, but this is more difficult for you due to fatigue or less mobility in the morning. The employer must prove there is a legitimate business need for the working hours to have an early start.
  • Example 2: I need to take time off for medical appointments and I’m not sure how my employer should record this absence. Time off to attend medical appointments does not have to be recorded as sickness if it relates to your impairment. Your employer can categorise this as ‘disability leave’, and this is classed as a reasonable adjustment.

Hate crime

Hate crime is any criminal offence that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated by prejudice based on a person’s disability, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Reporting

Sussex and Hampshire Police are encouraging people to report the hate crime they have experienced. Hate crime can be reported to the Police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.

In Sussex, you can also report online by completing a short form.

Hampshire Police has a Hate Crime app you can download.

You can also report hate crime and get further guidance on different types of hate crime through the national initiative Report It.

Further resources