Sex Discrimination Claims

The Eqaulity Act (EA) 2010 outlaw sex discrimination in the employment sphere and other areas. They apply to men and women regardless of age. We have specialist sex discrimination solicitors who can handle these type of cases for you.

Sex Discrimination: The Equality Act (EA) 2010

The EA 2010 outlaw direct sex discrimination, indirect sex discrimination, and victimisation of those who attempt to enforce their rights under the Acts. This and other legislation also address the issues of harassment, gender reassignment, and pregnancy and maternity.

Direct Sex Discrimination

This is where a woman (or man) is treated less favourably than a person of the opposite sex in comparable circumstances because of their gender (e.g. dismissing a woman because she is pregnant). Direct discrimination includes associative discrimination (where an employee is treated less favourably because they are associated with another person who possesses the protected gender characteristic) and discrimination by perception (where an employee is treated less favourably because others perceive them to possess the protected gender characteristic even if they don't).

Indirect Sex Discrimination

Indirect sex discrimination is where a seemingly gender neutral requirement or procedure disproportionately disadvantages one sex more than the other in practice and which the employer cannot justify as a proportionate means of achieving a valid objective (e.g. a height requirement which women are proportionately less able to meet)


Victimisation of those who assert their rights under the EA 2010 or the Equal Pay Act 1970 is unlawful.

Discriminatory Advertising

It is unlawful to publish an advertisement indicating an intention to discriminate unlawfully.

Sex Discrimination: Equal Pay

The Equal Pay Act 1970 (EPA) and the EA 2010 provide employees with the right to equal pay when compared with employees of the opposite gender. For further details, see the equal pay page

Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination

Under the Equality Act 2010, pregnancy and maternity discrimination is now a protected characteristic in its own right. There are 2 types of pregnancy and maternity discrimination: direct discrimination and victimisation.

The Equality Act 2010 provides that discrimination in relation to pregnancy and maternity discrimination is illegal during a "protected period". The protected period runs from the point at which the employee becomes pregnant until her maternity leave ends, or she returns to work if that occurs earlier. If the employee is not entitled to maternity leave, then the protected period ends 2 weeks after the employee gives birth.

Direct discrimination is where the employees suffers less favourable treatment due to her pregnancy, or her pregnancy related illness, or the fact that she has given birth recently, or due to her maternity leave, or because of her breastfeeding. Discrimination would constitute automatic discrimination. Hence, there is no need to point to a comparator to highlight the unfavourable treatment. Nevertheless, direct discrimination in the context of pregnancy and maternity, does not include discrimination by association or discrimination by perception. Should the employee suffer unfavourable treatment outside of the protected period due to her pregnancy and maternity, then they may still potentially be able to bring a claim for sex discrimination.

Victimisation is where an employee is treated unfavourably because they either have done, or are about to do, or are suspected of engaging in a "protected act" as regards their rights under the Equality Act 2010. A protected act is where the employee brings or helps helps another to bring a claim or complaint of discrimination, or makes an allegation that there has been a breach of the Equality Act 2010, or does anything else as regards the said Act.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined under the Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations 2005 and EA 2010 as conduct which violates the victims dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Furthermore, an employee can also bring a claim of harassment even where it is not directed at them personally, so long as they can show that the harassment created an offensive environment for them to work in.

Gender Reassignment

Discrimination against transsexuals who have undergone gender reassignment (i.e. a sex change) or who are or are about to undergo it constitutes sex discrimination and is therefore unlawful.

Sexual Orientation

Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is prohibited by The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and EA 2010.

Sex Discrimination Solicitors: Bringing A Sex Discrimination Claim

A tribunal claim must be made within three months of the discriminatory act (or last discriminatory act) complained of. Unlike in unfair dismissal claims, employees do not have to have had at least 2 years continuous service with the employer to be entitled to bring the claim. Should the employees claim be successful, the tribunal can make recommendations and award compensation. Should the employer fail to comply with recommendations made by the tribunal for action to reduce discrimination without reasonable justification, the tribunal can award additional compensation on top of what it may have already awarded. Furthermore, for claims brought from October 2010 onwards, Tribunals can now demand that employers implement changes to prevent further discrimination taking place. Compensation awards in discrimination cases are unlimited and unlike in unfair dismissal cases, there is no such thing as a 'basic' or 'compensatory' award. Instead, the award normally comprises the following:
  • Injury to Feelings:  Comprise separate awards for hurt feelings, aggravated damages, and injury to health. The criteria for assessing compensation for hurt feelings were set out by the Court of Appeal in the case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire (No.2) (2003), as amended by Da'Bell v NSPCC (2009). As a result of these cases, there is a top band of between £18,000.00 and £30,000.00 for the most serious cases, a middle band of between £6,000.00 and £18,000.00, and awards of between £500.00 and £6,000.00 for less serious and one-off cases. The Court in Vento stated that awards of less than £500.00 should be avoided. An injury to health claim can be incorporated into the injury to feelings claim, but should there be a separate award for it, the tribunal has to ensure that there is no element of duplication. Finally, aggravated damages can also be awarded as part of the injury to feelings claim, although awards for this element do not usually exceed £5,000.00 and are only awarded should the employers conduct have been especially cruel and malicious.
  • Loss of Earnings: Normally makes up the bulk of the claim and includes both actual and future loss of earnings. Future loss can be extensive where psychiatric injury has been sustained as a result of the discrimination and makes it difficult for the employee to obtain new and appropriate employment.
  • Injury to Health (Personal Injury): Is most commonly for psychiatric injury. Nevertheless, where a claim for personal injury is included, the employee loses the right to bring a claim in the civil courts for it.
  • Ancillary Losses: These can be for items such as the cost of looking for alternative employment and pension loss.
  • Interest: Interest on the compensation award can be claimed

Sex Discrimination Solicitors: What To Do If You Have A Claim

Should you require advice on sex discrimination, then please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialist sex discrimination solicitors. We can be contacted either by telephoning us on 0333 3010 700, or by completing the questionnaire on the right hand side of this page.

As specialist sex discrimination solicitors, you can rely upon us to provide you with quality advice from a leading employment law solicitor within the profession.

Please note that our specialist sex discrimination solicitors offer a free initial consultation.

Settlement Agreements

Should you have been offered a Settlement Agreement (which used to be known as Compromise Agreements) which you require independent advice on, then please call one of our employment law solicitors immediately on 0333 3010 700, or complete the questionnaire on the right hand side of this page. We will then arrange an appointment with you to go through the Settlement Agreement.

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How To Contact Us

To contact The Employment Law Solicitors about an employment law problem, please either telephone us on 0333 3010 700 or complete the short questionnaire above. Simply click the 'Send Now' button to submit the questionnaire once you have completed it. Upon receipt, it will be assessed by a solicitor who will then contact you to discuss the matter. The solicitor appointed to contact you, will be a specialist in your type of employment law issue. The Employment Law Solicitors handle cases on behalf of clients throughout the country. Headquartered in Wilmslow (Cheshire), we also have offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Warrington (Cheshire), Chester (Cheshire), Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Exeter, London, Nottingham, Bristol, Crewe (Cheshire), Stoke-on-Trent, Preston, Knutsford (Cheshire), Alderley Edge (Cheshire), Gloucester, Cheltenham, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Halifax, Cannock, Cardiff, Coventry, and Leicester.

This initial consultation is completely free of charge.

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