What are the 4 key types of discrimination?
Discrimination can come in many forms and can include a range of factors, but to simplify the possible forms of discrimination and make them more easily identifiable we are going to break these down into four key types. As one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world, the UK has had it’s fair share of discrimination issues. According to the Equality Act 2010[in UK discourse there are 4 key types of discrimination.
As a starting point, it is important to mention that the act covers the following areas of discrimination;
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
This sort of discrimination is not as obvious as it may sound to begin with. It may not be someone being physically direct towards you but can manifest itself in a number of ways around either a real or perceived ‘protected characteristic’.
Direct discrimination can occur based on the fact that you have a protected characteristic, that someone perceives you have a protected characteristic, or that you know or are related to someone with a protected characteristic.
It will mean that for any of these factors above, you are being treated worse than another person in the same situation. It is important to note that your situation will have to be similar in circumstance to another person being treated more fairly in order for a comparison to be made of the scenario. If you cannot find a scenario similar to your own it will be a case of proving that a person without the protected characteristic (actual, perceived or by association) would have been treated differently.
Note: It is very possible that you can be discriminated against by someone who shares the same protect characteristics as you. It does not have to be someone of a different age, gender, race or religion to count as discrimination.
This is an interesting one that has changed considerably in recent years. No longer limited to in person harassment, this area of discrimination has expanded into include both exist and emerging communication channels including social media.
In a nutshell harassment is behaviour towards you that is unwanted and that you find offensive. Again it is linked to whether or not you embody a protected characteristic, but similarly to direct discrimination these can be wide reaching and cover; age, gender, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation and more.
What does harassment look like in 2020?
From the upfront and personal to the technological…
- Facial expressions
- Physical gestures
- Workplace ‘banter’ that is offensive towards you
- Images, pictures or graffiti
- Written or verbal abuse
- Emails that cause offence
- Social media comments, tweets, online comments
Remember that if it is unwelcome by you, it is unwanted and counts as harassment. You don’t need to have objected to the behaviour initially and it could be as seemingly harmless as some flirtatious messages or workplace ‘banter’ that you feel has now got out of hand.
Crucially harassment covers any instances that create a hostile environment for you. It covers contact that you feel is degrading, humiliating, generally hostile or in the more acute sense simply intimidating.
It is important that if you feel you are being harassed by a colleague or work mate you keep any evidence of the unwanted behaviour where possible.
Equall will help you log harassment issues by allowing you to communicate these issues anonymously. If the same problem occurs more than once, instances will be logged, creating a hotspot within your organisation. If others have experienced the same or similar behaviour and log similar issues this will become visible, making the issue increasingly visible, enabling your employer to understand, manage and act on the issue at hand.
It might not necessarily be an individual who you feel discriminated against you. Our workplaces are full of policies and procedures that shape our cultural workplace norms. What is there was a policy in place that works for everybody else but seems to unfairly disadvantage you or a group of people who share a certain characteristic? This is known a indirect discrimination.
This can be a tricky one to identify as indirect discrimination can entail any business policy, procedure, practice or rule that unfairly affects you. It could be even harder to identify as it is likely that these policies or sets or rules weren’t intended to directly cause a disadvantage and so your discrimination may simply be a bi-product of the way things are currently done. This doesn’t mean it has to continue.
How do you prove indirect discrimination?
If there is a policy that applies to everybody in an organisation, or a group that includes yourself within it, you must be able to show that it unfairly disadvantages you as an individual due to your particular characteristic.
You must be able to prove or show how this particularly policy is going to cause you a grievance that doesn’t apply to others without your particular characteristic. You will also need to understand whether or not there is a reason for applying the policy despite the level of disadvantage it causes, which is where we may be able to help.
Anonymous reporting of discrimination issues, know matter how small or intricate they may seem, offers you the chance to raise the issue without fear of repercussions from bosses or peers.
Victimisation is an interesting one and can apply to everyone whether or not they possess a protected characteristic. It ties in closely to Retaliation Discrimination that we cover in our article on Invisible Discrimination, which you can read here.
This form of discrimination is the worst kind and one that we plan to tackle head on with the introduction of equall. Victimisation occurs when you have undertaken what in the UK they call a ‘protected act’.
This is possibly one of the most damaging types of discrimination out there because it prevents people from reporting the issue in the first place – breaking the cycle that will enable management of the issue.
After reporting an incident, victimisation (or retaliation discrimination) can lead to employees subsequently being exposed to further injustices. Making a discrimination claim, a complaint or supporting someone else by giving evidence of discrimination all become reasons for discrimination themselves, leading to a vicious cycle.
The existence of Victimisation Discrimination means the ‘D’ word can be a scary one to raise amongst peers and with bosses. We want to remove this barrier or potential repurcussions by providing a safe and secure space for you to easily log discrimination issues in your workplace anonymously from the palm of your hand.
Talk to one of the team today about issues affecting you and your workplace, or download the app today.
We believe in equality. As a fundamental human right, embracing equality is simply the right thing to do.