Being treated fairly and equally

There are a number of rights that make sure you are treated fairly and equally at where you work.

It's important to remember that some of these rights only apply to people with a certain employment status (like an employee, or a worker).

If you are not sure what this means, make sure you read the general information on employment rights before you go any further.

Equal treatment no matter what type of person you are

Discrimination and harassment

The person you work for cannot treat you unfairly because:

  • of your age
  • you have a disability
  • you are transsexual 
  • you are married or have a civil partner
  • you are pregnant or are off work because you have recently had a baby
  • of your race, including your colour, nationality or ethnic/national origin
  • of your religion, belief or lack of religion/belief
  • of your sex
  • of your sexual orientation  

If they do they may be breaking the law. This is called discrimination. They also cannot say or do things to you that make you feel uncomfortable or upset because of the type of person you are. This is called harassment.

This includes sexual harassment, which is any sexual behaviour which makes you feel uncomfortable, intimated, degraded or creates a hostile environment for you.

Employees and workers are protected from discrimination and harassment. You may also be protected if you are self-employed.

You can also complain about discrimination if you are being treated unfairly because of the way someone else is (e.g. the person you work for might treat you unfairly because you have a disabled child).  

I think I may have a problem with discrimination or harassment

There is more detailed information about discrimination and harassment on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website 

There is also a checker tool on the Citizens Advice website which can help you understand if you are being treated unfairly.  

If you do think you have a problem with discrimination and harassment, there are lots of different ways to try and deal with it yourself.

Citizens Advice has some good advice on their website about what you can do. 

I need more help

If you are struggling to deal with the problem yourself, there are lots of places where you can get more help.

Before you contact anyone for support, it’s really important to have as much information as possible ready. Things you might need include: 

  • a description of the problem you are having
  • a detailed timeline of the discrimination and harassment you have experienced
  • a copy of your employment contract (if you have one) 
  • a copy of any recent pay slips (if you have them)
  • a copy of any letters or emails between you and the person you work for that relate to the problem you are having
  • details of any conversations about the problem you have had with the person you work for

Where can I get specialist advice?

Over the phone or via email 

  • if you want more general information about employment rights you can telephone the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100. It's open from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and can give you help in any language. If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can use their Text Relay service on 18001 0300 123 1100. They may also be able to help you to sort out the problem with the person you work for. This is called mediation.
  • if you want to get help or advice about discrimination or harassment you can telephone the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) on 0808 800 0082 or textphone 0808 800 0084
  • if you are on benefits or a low-income and want advice about discrimination you can telephone Community Legal Advice on 0345 345 4345.
  • if you think you have been treated unfairly because you or your partner have had or adopted a baby you can telephone Maternity Action on 0808 802 0029.
  • if you are disabled and want advice about your employment rights you can contact the Disability Law Service (DLS) on 0207 791 9800 or email [email protected].
  • Working Families are a national charity that provide free advice for parents and carers. You can visit their website for more information, email their free helpline [email protected] (they aim to respond within five working days) or call  0300 012 0312 (currently open Monday 3pm - 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 12pm - 2pm)
  • if you are a member of a Trade Union you can contact them directly for advice.
  • if you are a woman and want advice about sexual harassment law you can contact the Rights of Women Sexual Harassment at Work free legal advice line on 020 7490 0152.


Face-to-face advice
 
We've created a map of advice centres in London to help you find out where you can visit someone to get help with discrimination and harassment. We've also provided their details in a list. Lots of them also give advice over the telephone or via email. 
 
It’s important to remember that some places may only be able to help you:

  • with certain things like general advice or filling in forms
  • if you live or work close to them (eg you may have to live in the same borough)
  • if you come from certain countries or backgrounds (eg you come from Eastern or Central Europe)
  • if you don’t earn very much or are struggling with money
  • if you have telephoned them first to make an appointment 

Make sure you check the details on our list of centres before you visit so that you find the right place to help with your problem. 

Your rights if you work part-time

Part-time working

Most of the time the person you work for cannot treat you differently if you work for them part-time. They must give you the same rights as someone who works for them full-time.

Sometimes your rights might be changed to match the hours you work e.g. you might get less days off

Part-time working rights are for employees and workers only.

I think I'm being treated unfairly because I work part-time

There is more information about rights for part-time workers on the government's website.

If you do think you have been treated unfairly because you work part-time, there are lots of different ways to try and deal with the problem yourself.

Citizens Advice has some good advice on their website about what you can do. 

I need more help

If you are struggling to deal with the problem yourself, there are lots of places where you can get more help.

Before you contact anyone for support, it’s really important to have as much information as possible ready. Things you might need include: 

  • a description of the problem you are having
  • a copy of your employment contract (if you have one) 
  • a copy of any recent pay slips (if you have them)
  • a copy of any letters or emails between you and the person you work for that relate to the problem you are having
  • details of any conversations about the problem you have had with the person you work for  

Where can I get specialist advice?

Over the phone or via email 

  • if you want more general information about employment rights you can telephone the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100. It's open from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and can give you help in any language. If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can use their Text Relay service on 18001 0300 123 1100. They may also be able to help you to sort out the problem with the person you work for. This is called mediation.
  • if you are disabled and want advice about your employment rights you can contact the Disability Law Service (DLS) on 0207 791 9800 or email [email protected].
  • Working Families are a national charity that provide free advice for parents and carers. You can visit their website for more information, email their free helpline [email protected] (they aim to respond within five working days) or call  0300 012 0312 (currently open Monday 3pm - 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 12pm - 2pm)
  • if you are a member of a Trade Union you can contact them directly for advice

 

Face-to-face advice
 

We've created a map of advice centres in London to help you find out where you can visit someone to get help with rights for part-time workers. We've also provided their details in a list. Lots of them also give advice over the telephone or via email. 
 
It’s important to remember that some places may only be able to help you:

  • with certain things like general advice or filling in forms
  • if you live or work close to them (eg you may have to live in the same borough)
  • if you come from certain countries or backgrounds (eg you come from Eastern or Central Europe)
  • if you don’t earn very much or are struggling with money
  • if you have telephoned them first to make an appointment 

Make sure you check the details on our list of centres before you visit so that you find the right place to help with your problem. 

Reporting something bad at work

Protection for whistleblowers

Sometimes you might need to tell the person you work for or somebody else about something bad that is happening at work which could affect a lot of people or the general public. This is called whistleblowing
If you do this, the person you work for must not treat you unfairly or sack or fire you.

Whistleblower rights are for employees and workers only.

I think I've been treated unfairly because of whistleblowing

There is more information about protection for whistleblowers on the Protect website. They are a charity that provides confidential support and advice to whistleblowers. 

If you have reported something bad at work and feel you have been treated unfairly, there are lots of different ways to try and deal with the problem yourself. 

Citizens Advice has some good advice on their website about what you can do.

I need more help

If you are struggling to deal with the problem yourself, there are lots of places where you can get more help.

Before you contact anyone for support, it’s really important to have as much information as possible ready. Things you might need include: 

  • a description of the problem you are having
  • a copy of your employment contract (if you have one) 
  • a copy of any recent pay slips (if you have them)
  • a copy of any letters or emails between you and the person you work for that relate to the problem you are having
  • details of any conversations about the problem you have had with the person you work for  

Where can I get specialist advice?

Over the phone or via email 

  • if you want more general information about employment rights you can telephone the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100. It's open from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and can give you help in any language. If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can use their Text Relay service on 18001 0300 123 1100. They may also be able to help you to sort out the problem with the person you work for. This is called mediation.
  • if you want advice about protection for whistleblowers, you can telephone the charity Protect on 020 3117 2520. You don't have to tell them your name. You can find out more about Protect on their website including other ways to contact them.
  • if you are disabled and want advice about your employment rights you can contact the Disability Law Service (DLS) on 0207 791 9800 or email [email protected].
  • Working Families are a national charity that provide free advice for parents and carers. You can visit their website for more information, email their free helpline [email protected] (they aim to respond within five working days) or call  0300 012 0312 (currently open Monday 3pm - 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 12pm - 2pm)
  • if you are a member of a Trade Union you can contact them directly for advice

 

Face-to-face advice

We've created a map of advice centres in London to help you find out where you can visit someone to get help with whistleblowing. We've also provided their details in a list. Lots of them also give advice over the telephone or via email. 
 
It’s important to remember that some places may only be able to help you:

  • with certain things like general advice or filling in forms
  • if you live or work close to them (eg you may have to live in the same borough)
  • if you come from certain countries or backgrounds (eg you come from Eastern or Central Europe)
  • if you don’t earn very much or are struggling with money
  • if you have telephoned them first to make an appointment 

Make sure you check the details on our list of centres before you visit so that you find the right place to help with your problem. 

Being a member of a Trade Union

The right to join a Trade Union

The person you work for cannot treat you unfairly if you are a member of a Trade Union or you want to join one. It also does not matter which Union you are a member of.

The right to join a Trade Union is for employees and workers only.

What are Trade Unions?

A Trade Union is an organisation made up of workers that makes the people you work for treat you better. If you become a member of a Trade Union they may be able to help you if you have a problem at work. If you do not earn very much money you may not have to pay very much to join a Trade Union.

There is more general information about Trade Unions on the Trade Union Congress (TUC) website.

If you are interested in joining a Trade Union try using the TUC's online tool to search for a union.

I think I've been treated unfairly for being a Trade Union member

There is more information about your right to join a Trade Union on the government's website

If you feel you have been treated unfairly because you are a member of a Trade Union or want to join one, there are lots of different ways to try and deal with the problem yourself. 

Citizens Advice has some good advice on their website about what you can do. 

I need more help

If you are struggling to deal with the problem yourself, there are lots of places where you can get more help.

Before you contact anyone for support, it’s really important to have as much information as possible ready. Things you might need include: 

  • a description of the problem you are having
  • a copy of your employment contract (if you have one) 
  • a copy of any recent pay slips (if you have them)
  • a copy of any letters or emails between you and the person you work for that relate to the problem you are having
  • details of any conversations about the problem you have had with the person you work for  

Where can I get specialist advice?

Over the phone or via email 

  • if you want more general information about employment rights you can telephone the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100. It's open from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and can give you help in any language. If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can use their Text Relay service on 18001 0300 123 1100. They may also be able to help you to sort out the problem with the person you work for. This is called mediation.
  • if you are disabled and want advice about your employment rights you can contact the Disability Law Service (DLS) on 0207 791 9800 or email [email protected].
  • Working Families are a national charity that provide free advice for parents and carers. You can visit their website for more information, email their free helpline [email protected] (they aim to respond within five working days) or call  0300 012 0312 (currently open Monday 3pm - 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 12pm - 2pm)
  • if you are already a member of a Trade Union you can contact them directly for advice

 

Face-to-face advice

We've created a map of advice centres in London to help you find out where you can visit someone to get help with the right to join a Trade Union. We've also provided their details in a list. Lots of them also give advice over the telephone or via email. 
 
It’s important to remember that some places may only be able to help you:

  • with certain things like general advice or filling in forms
  • if you live or work close to them (eg you may have to live in the same borough)
  • if you come from certain countries or backgrounds (eg you come from Eastern or Central Europe)
  • if you don’t earn very much or are struggling with money
  • if you have telephoned them first to make an appointment 

Make sure you check the details on our list of centres before you visit so that you find the right place to help with your problem. 

Protection from violence, threats or controlling behaviour

Modern Slavery

The person you work for cannot force you to work by hurting you or threatening you. If you do not want to work for them they must let you leave. If they don't they may be breaking the law. This is called Modern Slavery.  

Modern Slavery is a criminal offence. This means everybody is protected no matter what their employment status. 

How do I spot the signs of Modern Slavery?

There is more information about the signs of Modern Slavery on the Modern Slavery Helpline website which is run by the charity Unseen.

There is also more useful information on the Metropolitan Police website.

How do I report Modern Slavery?

If you are worried that you or someone you know is the victim of Modern Slavery, there are lots of different ways to report it:

  • you can call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 for advice. You don't have to tell them your name. It is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is more information on the Modern Slavery Helpline website about other ways you can get help or advice.
  • you can report Modern Slavery to the Metropolitan Police by calling 101 or using their online form. If it is an emergency or there is a crime taking place call 999
  • you can report Modern Slavery anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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