I am being discriminated against in my work place. I gave in a letter of complaint to the owner, cc the manager and the HR person on 14th june. to date nothing seems to be getting sorted. what can I do that wont cost me my job.
Province/Country relating to question: Belfast Northern Ireland
I put in writting what the complaint was and who it was in relation to. HR has called me in and said they havent forgot about me but the owner and manager are on two weeks holiday. that was four weeks ago. I dont know why the other person is discriminating against me as she wont say. the HR person asked me what I want to see happen with this but surely that isnt down to me.
Hello and thank you for your question, which I will be happy to assist you with. Please let me know what is the reason for you being discriminated?
I work in a shoe shop. I am in the childrens department bur have been told by management that if it gets busy in the ladies department anyone working in childrens is to go over and help serve. one person in the ladies department refuses to let me serve. she has taken a shoe off me infront of the customer and said she will get it. recently she approched the customer I was serving and said I shouldn't be serving as I was from the childrens and she was free to serve. the customer laughed when she left. I reported this to the owner as I didn't agree with what she had done infront of customers. the person in question doesnt seem to have any problem with any of the other six ladies I work with in childrens serving in ladies, just me. She wont give me a reason as to why. when I reported her for the incident her first remark to me was 'you bitch'.
how long have you worked there for?
two years and three months
This is not discrimination because that will only occur if you are being picked on because of a protected characteristic, such as age, gender, race, religion, etc. However, it may amount to bullying instead. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) defines bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual.
Under law, specifically the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, an employer has a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees. That includes preventing bullying behaviour occurring in the workplace and to effectively deal with any complaints that have arisen as a result of bullying.
In terms of what an employee can do to try and deal with this, the following steps are recommended:
In general, try and gather as much evidence as possible before considering making a formal complaint and certainly before going down the legal route. As bullying often takes verbal form, the best idea is to keep a detailed diary of all bullying occasions so that there is at least some evidence in written form that the employer and/or the tribunal can refer to.
If the bullying behaviour is serious enough and has occurred on at least two occasions, it may also amount to harassment, which can be a criminal matter, although it can also be pursued as a civil matter. However, it is advisable to try and stick to one claim only so if constructive dismissal is being pursued then concentrate on that.
I had been to my manager and treid to deal with this informally earlier in the year. She was told infront of myself and my supervisor that anyone including me was free to serve in ladies if they are busy, she added only if I ask her to. I dont know why she wont accept the managers request so I dont know if it is religious or not. I am the only roman catholic working in a protestant workforce and area. This may be simply a coinsidence but I handed my letter of complaint in on Thursday afernoon and someone put in a call to the NSPCC on Thursday night and made false claims of child abuse by me on my children, a comment was also made that I am agressive to my co workers. If this was in the interest of child safety why would they say about my co workers. I was investigated and the claims were proven false.
if there is a religious aspect to this then it would potentially be discrimination but proving this in the absence of any evidence would be difficult. Apart from that your rights are really as discussed above, there is no easy way of dealing with this unfortunately
Thank you for your time and help, Rose
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Expert in UK Employment Law
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