What to do if you are discriminated against

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What to do if you are discriminated against

What is discrimination?

Discrimination refers to the discriminatory or unfair treatment of individuals or groups due to their characteristics like race, gender, or sexual orientation. This is the easy answer. It’s more difficult to explain why this happens.

Human brains naturally place things in categories to help us understand the world. For example, very young children quickly learn to distinguish between boys and girls. However, the values that we assign to different categories come from our parents and our peers. They also learn from the observations we make about the world. Discrimination is often rooted in fear and misunderstanding.

Discrimination is a daily reality for many. Discrimination refers to the unfair or prejudicial treatment people or groups due to their characteristics like race, gender or sexual orientation.

The Equality Act 2010 is the law that says you can’t be discriminated. It is illegal to discriminate against someone who is not in compliance with the Equality Act. You should verify whether discrimination has been committed under the Equality Act if you feel you have been discriminated against.


What is the unfair treatment?

The Equality Act only allows for certain kinds of behaviour and unfair treatment to be considered unlawful discrimination. It depends on who is discriminating against you. For example: A healthcare provider cannot discriminate against you by refusing to give you medical treatment, or worsening your treatment over another person.

Which action is best for you?

You must consider what you want to accomplish when deciding on the best course of action regarding discrimination. You might want financial compensation, an apology, or a way to make things right. Also, think about how fast you can get the result.

It is often better to solve your problem privately first. This will prevent the problem from getting worse and save you the stress and expense of going to court. However, you should be aware of the strict deadlines for taking legal action. Therefore, it is best to act as soon as possible.

Make a complaint.
This is the fastest way to get an informal remedy or an apology. However, it is not legal and you may not receive any compensation.

Try mediation or arbitration.
Arbitration and mediation are two methods where both parties reach an agreement. Although mediation is not binding, you can still go to court if you are unhappy with the outcome. Arbitration is usually legally binding. You must respect the decision of the arbitrator and you cannot go to court if you disagree with it.

You need to get the other side to agree to mediation or arbitration if you want to solve your problem through mediation. Although it will be more time-consuming than filing a complaint, this may still work if you are able to maintain a good relationship with the organisation or person who discriminated against your. You may also be eligible for compensation.

You can take legal action.
If you have not received a response from the organisation or person who discriminated against your, or if other solutions are unsuccessful, you can take court action to resolve the issue. You may also be eligible for compensation.

Differentiation: How to handle it

It is vital to find healthy ways to cope with discrimination for your mental and physical well-being.

  • Concentrate on your strengths. Your core beliefs, core values and perceived strengths can be motivating factors that will help you succeed. It may also buffer you from the negative effects associated with bias. People can become more resilient and more able to handle future challenges by overcoming hardship.
  • Get support. Discrimination can lead to people internalising negative beliefs of others, even if they are false. It’s possible to start believing you aren’t good enough. Friends and family can help you to reframe your negative beliefs and remind you of who you are.
  • Ask for help from your trusted people. Microaggressions, as well as other forms of discrimination, can be a significant deterrent for friends and family. Your support network can help you to feel safe in a world that often invalidates your feelings and experiences. It can be difficult to discuss discrimination. Asking your family and friends how they deal with such situations can be very helpful. If you feel that you have been discriminated against in any area, such as employment, housing, or education, your family and friends may be able to help you. Many people do not report these experiences to supervisors or agencies.
  • Get involved. You don’t need to rely on your closest friends or family for support. There are many ways to get involved in like-minded organisations and groups, either locally or online. It is helpful to find others who have experienced similar experiences as yours. Connecting with these people can help you find ways to deal with discrimination and other situations in a way you didn’t think of.
  • You can help yourself to think clearly. Discrimination can cause a host of strong emotions, including anger, sadness and embarrassment. These experiences can trigger a physiological reaction, which can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature.


You will need to prove that you have been discriminated against and take legal action if you believe you have. This will allow you to determine if unlawful discrimination occurred and help you support your case when it happens.

You may find equality policies or codes in place at the organisation that discriminates against you. These documents may offer more protection than the Equality Act. These documents can be used if you wish to file a complaint regarding discrimination. Learn more about discrimination or improve diversity and inclusion at your place of work with a tailored training course for your team.

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