A worker, job applicant or (in some cases) an ex-employee can bring a claim to an employment tribunal for unlawful discrimination if they think this has occurred. The claim must normally be brought within three months of the alleged act of discrimination.

To succeed in the complaint, the claimant must show facts based on which a tribunal could infer or conclude that discrimination has occurred because of the specified protected characteristic. If there are such facts, and if the employer does not provide a satisfactory explanation, for example by showing that there was a non-discriminatory reason for their actions or omissions, then the tribunal will uphold the complaint.

This topic explains the protected characteristics as described in the Equality Act 2010 which form the grounds on which any discrimination claims must be based, the types of people who may be able to bring a discrimination claim against an employer, the time limits that apply to the tribunal process and the requirement to contact Acas for pre-claim conciliation.

The proceedings of the employment tribunal system are explained in detail, together with the possibility of financial penalties over and above compensation.

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