Even though most employers are well-aware of the dangers of discrimination there are slight differences that catch many experienced bosses unprepared.

Employees are able to claim damages if you discriminate against them indirectly. One of the forms of indirect discrimination is associative discrimination. For example, an employee can successfully claim discrimination by association if he/she was dismissed after saying he/she needs to spend more time caring for his/her disabled daughter.

Discrimination can be an extremely worrying accusation for any employer as there is no cap on the compensation payment. There is also no qualifying period for it, so an employee need not have worked a minimum length of time before being able to claim.

These two factors have made it very easy for aggrieved employees to file a discrimination claim without having to accrue the necessary two years’ service required for an unfair dismissal claim. And associative discrimination has become an easy way for them to claim damages. Employees who are unable to claim direct discrimination against their bosses may try to make a claim of discrimination by proxy.

Associative discrimination is based on the same protected characteristics as cases of direct discrimination: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion and belief; sex; sexual orientation.

One does not need to be an employee in order to make a claim – those who are applying for a job can take legal action if they believe a prospective future employer has discriminated against them.

That also applies with regards to associative discrimination.

If you believe you have fallen a victim to the Associative Discrimination trap, please contact Fiona Pawsey on 01202877400 (Ferndown) or 01305 470051 (Weymouth) or via email on fiona@newnham-jordan.co.uk for a free initial appointment.

The comments above are the writer’s opinion based upon the information so far available it does not constitute legal advice.

Fiona Pawsey
Article by Fiona Pawsey
Fiona has been practicing family law for over 12 years initially as a Legal Executive and then subsequently as a solicitor. Fiona is a trained collaborative solicitor, as well as a Resolution Panel Member. She is experienced in advising clients going through divorce or family breakdown, including financial settlements and disputes over children, in particular complex contact and residence issues. In addition to family law Fiona also deals with litigation, property transactions and residential Conveyancing

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