Data from DeltaNet International and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) reveals discrimination cases have risen to around 500 cases in 2019-2020.
This new data has revealed that sexual orientation discrimination has risen 165%. There has been an increase of discrimination cases that went to employment tribunals across seven categories of discrimination including sexual orientation, disability, religion, race, pregnancy and sex.
It is believed the increase in the number complaints is likely to be a result of reduced fees. Previously, tribunal case fees cost over £1,000 per case but they have since been lowered to just over £300.
“It has become far more accessible for employees to lodge sexual orientation discrimination cases,” said Jayne Harrison, Head of Employment Law at Richard Nelson LLP.
“Tribunal fees were abolished on 26 July 2017 and since then tribunals have seen an increase year on year with claims being lodged as now an unhappy employee can use the tribunal system without it costing them anything.
“Previously the fees were around £1200 for an unfair dismissal case but much less (£390) for a wages claim/unlawful deduction. This seemed to act as a bar to potential litigants and one of the main reasons why the fees were abolished when they were challenged by the unions.”
Focusing on sexual orientation alone, claims have increased 165% since 2015 – 2016 to almost 500 cases across 2019 – 2020.
“The best method of avoiding employment tribunals is to treat staff with fairness, dignity, and respect – and to follow clearly laid-out procedures,” Darren Hockley, MD at DeltaNet International said on the new figures
“As employers, it’s important we offer training to those we trust in managerial positions on the basic requirements of employment law. Managers should know how to handle sexual orientation discrimination grievances respectfully and transparently and should be regularly updated about the businesses’ statutory and contractual requirements.
“Without this knowledge, it’s hard for staff members to remain fair and consistent, and this is when many organisations may find themselves in hot water.”
A landmark example of a successful sexual orientation discrimination tribunal case was covered by GAY TIMES earlier this year.
A gender-fluid engineer won £180,000 in compensation in a gender discrimination tribunal case against Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).
Rose Taylor brought claims against JLR stating she has suffered harassment, discrimination because of her gender reassignment and bullying in the workplace, as well as a lack of professional support. Ms Taylor is the first gender-fluid UK citizen to win a discrimination case based on gender reassignment.
JLR have since apologised to Ms Taylor for “the experiences she had during her employment with us” and said they will continue to work on improvement in this area. Ms Taylor had worked for the company for over 20 years and presented as male before identifying as gender fluid in 2017.
A transgender employee of Amazon is currently in the process of claiming against his employer after claiming he was denied promotion after announcing he was pregnant.
Under the non-discrimination law passed in 2010, a UK employer cannot discriminate against an employee on the basis of a number of protected characteristics including sexual orientation and gender reassignment.