The law which says you mustn’t be discriminated against is called the Equality Act 2010. Discrimination which is against the Act is unlawful. If you’ve experienced unlawful discrimination, you can take action about it under the Act.
To help you decide if you've been discriminated against and what action to take about it, you can ask the person or organisation you think discriminated against you for information about what happened.
Read this page to find out about how to get information about the way you've been treated. This page doesn't cover discrimination in the workplace.
Asking questions about the unfair treatment may help you understand why you were treated in a certain way and whether it might be unlawful discrimination. It can also help you decide if you want to take action and what action you should take.
You can ask any questions you think are useful to understand why the unfair treatment happened. It’s best to try and make the questions as specific as possible and not ask the person or organisation to provide large amounts of irrelevant information.
The government has produced guidance on Asking and responding to questions about discrimination in the provision of goods and services and public functions. The guidance also covers discrimination in housing and education.
The guidance sets out six steps you should follow to prepare for and seek information from the person or organisation you think may have discriminated against you. These are:
There is a template in Annex 1 of the guidance you can use to ask your questions.
It’s always best to try and sort out your problem informally first if possible. There is no specific time when you should send your questions to the the person or organisation you think discriminated against you, but it may be a good idea to wait until your make a formal complaint. If you have any specific questions about the discrimination you can raise these during an informal discussion with them first.
Make sure you:
If you send your questions by post, it’s best to send them by recorded delivery so you have evidence that they were received.
Ask the person or organisation to write back to you within a specified time period like 21 days.
The person or organisation you think discriminated against you doesn't have to answer your questions. But if they don’t answer your questions, the tribunal may be able take this into account when making a decision on whether you’ve been unlawfully discriminated against.
There are strict time limits for going to court. You need to make your claim within 6 months less one day of the discrimination happening. If you’re waiting for the person or organisation to respond to your questions, you need to keep this time limit in mind so you don’t run out of time for making your claim. If you're getting close to the time limit, it's best to make your claim even if you haven't had a response back.
If you want to make a claim about discrimination at work, the time limit is 3 months.
If you have experienced discrimination, you can get help from the EASS discrimination helpline.
You can find useful information about discrimination on the EHRC website at
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