Our sex discrimination solicitors deal with hundreds of sex discrimination at work cases every year. For expert legal advice or immediate representation call Slater and Gordon Lawyers 24/7 on freephone 0161 830 9642 or contact us online.

Whatever the nature of the sexual discrimination you feel you’ve experienced, our employment law solicitors can provide you with legal advice in a sensitive and understanding manner. Our solicitors also have significant experience in maternity-related discrimination at work cases.

Sex discrimination: the law

Under the terms of The Equality Act 2010, it’s unlawful for employers to discriminate against their workers on the basis of their sex. Sex discrimination against men is just as unlawful as discrimination for being a woman under the legislation. Discrimination can be in many forms, whether sexual harassment, or sometimes a one-off action or course of conduct over a longer period of time, or evena policy that seems to be equal, but in fact creates different problems for people of one gender. It doesn’t have to be done intentionally in order to be unlawful.

Although some high-profile sex discrimination and equal pay cases are covered in the broadcast and print media, the overwhelming majority go unreported. Many victims of sexual discrimination at work are embarrassed to come forward while others are simply unaware of their legal rights and the protection they’re entitled to by law.

The main types of sex discrimination are:

Direct discrimination

This is when a person is unfavourably treated because of their gender. An example of direct discrimination would be if a job advertisement states that a role is better suited to female applicants, for no real reason.

Indirect discrimination

This happens when a rule, procedure or practice in a workplace is applied to all employees, but it disadvantages some people because of their sex. For example, a requirement for job applicants to be above a certain height could have a disproportionately negative impact on women.

In some cases, indirect discrimination can be justified under the law if it’s really necessary in order for a business to work effectively.

Sexual Harassment

Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or in some way related to sex, is unlawful harassment if it makes the workplace a humiliating, distressing or offensive environment for you. There is never a legal justification for sexual harassment. However, sometimes employers try to argue that actions by individual employees are not down to them, because theytook all the steps they could to prevent its employees from behaving in this way. So it is worth knowing that you do also have the right to bring claims against the individuals who harassed you as well as your employer, just in case.


This is when you are unfairly treated because you supported or made a complaint about sex discrimination. For example, if you were treated badly or sacked by your employer for making a statement supporting a colleague’s sex discrimination case.

How to take action

If you think you’ve been the victim of sex discrimination, it’s important to take action. If you’re treated unfairly as an employee, your first step should be to try to resolve the matter with your employer informally. However, if you can’t do this, you may need to take more formal action by raising or grievance or ultimately taking your claim to an employment tribunal.

Don’t delay in taking this action. There’s a time limit of three months from when the discrimination happened for employment tribunal claims, so you can’t afford to wait too long. Before you take your claim to a tribunal however, you’ll need to inform ACAS of your intention. ACAS will then try to help you and your employer come to a settlement. If this is unsuccessful, ACAS will give you a certificate to enable you to take it to a tribunal.

How Slater and Gordon can help

You don’t have to put up with sexual discrimination at work. Slater and Gordon Lawyers can provide immediate legal advice and representation in sex discrimination cases. Whether you think you were prevented from getting a job because of your gender or you were unfairly treated or dismissed because of it, our experts are here to help.

Simply contact us for a confidential initial consultation. You can call us on freephone 0161 830 9642 or contact us online. Our specialists will listen to the details of your situation and let you know whether it is worth proceeding. We’ll offer guidance at all stages of the process and help you to protect your rights and achieve the outcome you want. We’ll also help to minimise any stress and anxiety during what may be a very difficult time in your professional life.

You can rest assured you’re benefiting from the highest standard of legal support when you use our services. Many employment solicitors at Slater and Gordon UK are members of the Employment Lawyers Association and we understand all the angles of sex discrimination cases, including their sensitive nature. Several of our sexual discrimination cases have had a significant impact on legislation.

Advice guide

For further information, you can download and print our legal advice guide to help explain Sex Discrimination at Work and Your Legal Rights