Do not underestimate the significant impact that discrimination can have on your business or organisation.
Discrimination can cause a high employee turnover – if employees feel they are not being treated in a fair way, they are likely to leave at the first chance they get. It can severely affect employees’ morale, motivation and performance. It may cause disputes and taint working relationships. It can negatively impact on your company’s image and reputation. Most of all, discrimination can lead to you falling foul of the Equality Act 2010 and facing expensive claims in an Employment Tribunal.
Avoid this by understanding the different types of discrimination. We will describe, in simple terms, what associative ad perceptive discrimination are and give you easy-to-follow examples.
There are cases where a person is discriminated against as a result of someone else’s protected characteristic. In essence, this means that the employee is treated less favourably because of their association with a third party, such as a spouse, partner, sibling or child, who has a protected characteristic as laid down in the Equality Act. This is ‘associative discrimination’ or ‘discrimination by association’.
For example, a job applicant has been offered a role, but this is withdrawn once the employer finds out they have a disabled daughter who requires intense care and attention. This could constitute discrimination because even though the applicant is not disabled, she is associated with someone who is.
There are also cases where a person is treated less favourably because other people believe they have a protected characteristic, but in fact, they do not. The discrimination is based on perception, rather than reality. This is known as ‘perceptive discrimination’ or ‘discrimination by perception’.
For example, if you do not promote an employee because you think they are homosexual, but in fact, they are heterosexual. Another example would be that you decide to reject a job application from a candidate from a white woman, because you think that she is black due to her African-sounding name.
If you would like to discuss any discrimination issues in your organisation, call your Employment Law Adviser for support.