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Discrimination at work – Part Three: Protected characteristics and the perception-reality gap

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Fahy Sheila
Sheila Fahy

PSL Counsel


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15 July 2013

Discrimination claims accounted for 15.3% of all the employment claims brought in 2011/12, with a great many more being settled before reaching the tribunal door.

No amount of best practice will totally eradicate discriminatory conduct or allegations of it, but it is possible to minimise exposure in this area. The starting point is to understand the level of employee knowledge in terms of what is lawful and what is unlawful, what is acceptable conduct and what is not.

To gauge the level of knowledge, Allen & Overy (via YouGov) conducted a quantitative survey with over 1000 working adults to see how much they knew about the protected characteristics under UK discrimination laws. The results show that there is gap between employees’ perception of the law and the reality, highlighting the risks of discriminatory claims that employers are facing.

You can find out exactly what workers thought about protected characteristics such as accents, age, religion and belief were under anti-discrimination laws by downloading the report.

Other reports in our Discrimination at work series: