Apply for relief

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➞ Who can apply?

Anyone bringing a claim against their employer in the UK under the Equality Act. This includes claims for sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

In order to apply you must have completed the ACAS early conciliation process. To see what steps you can take to handle a conflict at work, see below.

What can I do if I have a conflict at work?

If you experience discrimination at work we recommend you do some research to understand your rights as well as the options for conflict resolution. You can either use the many useful and free online resources (we have listed our favorites below) or consult an employment lawyer.

NOTE: be aware that if you do decide to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal, you need to submit your claim form within three months (plus the Early Conciliation period) of the date the discrimination event happened.

When you have decided to submit a claim in court

While we encourage individuals to try to resolve conflicts with their employer informally, we acknowledge that sometimes the best option is to submit a claim in court.

Before submitting your claim in court, you must complete the Early Conciliation process through ACAS. For information on what that involves and how to initiate the process, please visit:

If you and your employer are unable to resolve your conflict via the Early Conciliation process, ACAS will conclude the process and issue a certificate to you so you can submit your claim in court.

Covering legal costs

Before choosing to go to court you should carefully consider how the expected cost compares to your potential claim (keep in mind, the cost of going to court involves not just legal fees but also emotional stress and time you need to spend on your case which is often substantial).

In terms of legal costs, going to court can be expensive. There are various options for covering costs:

  1. Insurance: your insurance policy may cover legal expenses so remember to take a look at your policy! Bear in mind that some insurers require that they appoint your legal representation.
  2. Trade unions: if you are a member of a trade union, these will sometimes be able to represent you in your dispute against your employer (depending on their rules).
  3. Pro-bono services: pro-bono services can be a good way to reduce legal costs. Bear in mind that pro-bono advisors may work under time limitations:
    1. There are various pro-bono services available for free barrister representation such as the Free Representation Unit and the Bar Pro Bono Unit
    2. LawWorks provides pro-bono solicitors’ services
  4. Representing yourself: you can represent yourself in court and there are a range of voluntary services which can assist you such as CitizensAdvice, Law Centres Network. This can be appropriate for smaller cases, however in larger cases, where your employer has instructed a lawyer, we recommend getting professional representation as things quickly can get very “hairy”
  5. You can also cover the cost yourself: if you have the means this is a simple solution, but can also be more stressful as you bear all the financial risk yourself (bear in mind court rulings can be unpredictable)
  6. Legal aid can be a good way to reduce legal costs if you qualify:
    1. You may be entitled to receive legal aid by the UK Government (although the income threshold is low). To check your eligibility visit:
    2. Some charities provide legal aid to select groups such as Royal National Institute for the Blind, the Disability Law Service, and others
    3. Legal Aid for Business Diversity provides legal aid to employees bringing discrimination claims against their employers in Courts of England and Wales

If you need emotional support such as therapy, you can speak to you GP who can give you a referral to a therapist or visit NHS’s website on self-help options and information on helplines:

Apply for relief (pending)