The Equality Act 2010 is the law that says you can’t be discriminated. It is illegal to discriminate against people who are in violation of the Act. You can file a complaint under the Act if you have been discriminated against.
You can get information from the person or organization that discriminated against you to help you determine if it was discriminatory and what you should do about it.
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This page will tell you how to obtain information about your treatment. This page does not cover discrimination at work.
Why is it important to ask questions about discrimination?
Asking questions about unfair treatment can help you to understand the reasons behind it and whether or not it is unlawful discrimination. This can help you decide whether or not you want to pursue legal action.
What are the questions you should ask?
To understand the reason for the unfair treatment, you can ask any questions that you feel are relevant. It is best to be as specific as possible when asking questions and to not ask for too much information.
Guideline for asking and answering questions
The guidance is called “Asking and answering questions about discrimination when providing goods and services or public functions”. This guidance also addresses discrimination in education and housing.
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This guidance outlines six steps that you can follow to prepare for and obtain information from any person or organization you suspect of discriminating against you. These are:
- Step 1: Enter your information and the details about the person or organization you believe discriminated against.
- Step 2: Identify the reason for discrimination. The Equality Act protects nine characteristics, such as sex and race, or disability. If you are treated unfairly because of any of these characteristics, it is illegal discrimination.
- Step 3: Describe the unfair treatment. Ask the person or organization if they are okay with your account. If not, why not?
- Step 4: If you are able, identify the type discrimination that you have experienced, such as harassment or direct discrimination.
- Step 5: Explain why you believe your treatment was illegal. What did the person/organisation do or say that made their behavior unlawful under the Equality Act.
- Step 6: Answer any additional questions that you’d like to know more about the company, such as statistical information or policies regarding equality and discrimination.
You can find a template in Annex 1 to help you ask your questions. The guidance can be downloaded from GOV.UK.
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Sending your questions
If possible, it is best to resolve your issue informally. Although there is no set time to send questions to the organization or person you believe discriminated against, it might be worth waiting until you file a formal complaint. You can ask specific questions about discrimination during an informal conversation with them.
- Keep a copy the questions form and all correspondence that you send to the organisation.
- Check that they have received your questions.
- It is best to send your questions via post so that you can prove they were received.
- Ask the organization or person to reply to you within a certain time frame, such as 21 days.
Is the person or organization required
You don’t have to ask the person or organization you believe discriminated against you. However, if they refuse to answer your questions the tribunal might be able to consider this when deciding if you have been unlawfully discriminated against.
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You can go to court if you wish
You must file your claim within a certain time limit before you can go to court. Your claim must be filed within six months of the incident. You should not wait for an answer from the person or organization to make your claim. It’s best to file your claim if you are getting close to the deadline, even if there hasn’t been a reply.