Who or where can someone dealing with discrimination turn to for help and advice?

Blog7 - Who or where can someone dealing with discrimination turn to for help and advice?

Having discrimination problems at work

If you feel you are being unfairly treated at work, there are advice centres and legal councils that can help you.

The difference between a representative and an advisor

  • An adviser
    • An adviser is someone who does not get actively involved in your case
    • They do not talk directly to your employer
    • They do not formally represent you in the tribunal
    • If you only an advisor all the preparation for the tribunal is your responsibility. You advisor is just there to help and advise you on the process
    • Always keep your advisor updated on your hearing dates. Be sure to advise up on these dates as soon as you get them.
    • Any letters, emails, phone calls, messages you may receive on your case. Especially information from the tribunal and or your employer or their representation.
    • An advisor may withdraw from your case for various reasons. They are however obligated to keep you updated and informed in a timely manner.
  • A representative
    • Is someone who will formally represent you
    • They will be named as your representative on any legal forms and the tribunal
    • They will take full responsibility for the preparation of your case
    • They will take over the filling in of any documentation required
    • They will represent you at the tribunal, but you may still be required to speak and give evidence.
    • All contact, documentation will go through your representative
    • They will keep you updated on your case
    • Always keep your representative updated on your movements (for example if you are going on holiday) and any changes in your situation.
    • Make sure your representative can get hold of you at all time
    • A representative may within your case for various reasons. They are, however, obligated to keep you updated and informed in a timely manner.

Who to seek help and advice from with a discrimination problem

  • HR Department
    Try talking to the HR department at your place of employment
  • Your Local Citizens Advice Center
    These centres offer a person free, impartial and totally confidential advice. They will help and guide you through the entire process.
  • Trade Unions
    If you are a member of a trade union there may a representative at your workplace you can talk to. Or they may have someone in the union who you can go to.
  • A solicitor
    There is also the option to find a solicitor to help you. They will become your representative for the case.
    There are paid solicitors and legal-aid that usually do Pro-bono work. Some insurance policies come with a free legal cover for situations such as these.
  • The Free Representation Unit or FRU
    FRU is an agency that helps with case preparation and representation. Your case has to already have been started and you would need a referral to them.
  • Acas – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
    Is an advisory centre that supplies free advice on everything to do with workplace problems as well as the legal aspects of employment.
  • UK Online Information Website
    This website has information on resolving work problems, legal and work rights, etc.

Conclusion

It can be quite a daunting task taking the steps to laying a claim of discrimination.  But you are not alone and these centres we have discussed in this article are there to help, and they really do!  If you have started to seek out advice on where you can go you have already taken your first steps in the process.

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