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Four Common Types of Discrimination and How They Can Occur in the Workplace

When you go to work you should feel comfortable in your environment and happy around your colleagues so you can continue to thrive. However, that is not always the case. Discrimination can take many forms but the effects are still the same as victims feel trapped, unequal and targetted every single day. While discrimination is illegal, it can still happen. When it does, legal recourse may be an option.

Here are four common types of discrimination.

Direct discrimination

As the most obvious form of discrimination, direct actions are experienced when one person mistreats another based on a protected characteristic such as age or race. In a workplace, this could show itself in many ways, for example, not giving a deserving member of staff a promotion because they are of a certain race.

Indirect discrimination

Covert discrimination can be a little more difficult to prove but this doesn’t make it any less harmful and the victim will experience the same impact. At work, this could manifest itself through the wording of specific policies and other subtle actions or behaviours that discriminate about a person or people.


Discriminatory harassment could be somebody engaging in unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic, violating someone’s dignity or creating a degrading or hostile environment. For example, a colleague may begin to make jokes about disability which upsets and offends an employee who is in a wheelchair.


Under the Equality Act 2010, you cannot be treated unfairly based on a number of factors one of them being if somebody believes that you have done or are going to do a protected act i.e make a claim about discrimination or support somebody else. Being punished for doing so is victimisation, for example, if a non-disabled employee supports the claim of a disabled colleague and is then refused a promotion, they may have been victimised.

At Swan Craig Solicitors, we are an experienced law firm specialising in employment law. Based in Bristol, our professional team of solicitors and legal experts work tirelessly to provide the legal advice and representation that you need. Whether you a business client or require individual support, we’re here to help. Get in touch with us today for more.

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