Tackling ‘Russophobia’ in the UK

Despite programmes like McMafia and rising tensions between Russian and western governments, the UK continues to welcome Russians.

However, there is no doubt that the general attitude towards all immigrants to the UK has hardened after Brexit.

As a law firm, we see discrimination in two main areas. The first is in financial services, such as opening bank accounts and, the second and, by far the biggest, is in relation to employment.

Whilst it is common for people to feel that they have been treated differently for an unfair reason, by law it is only unlawful discrimination if certain requirements are met.  

Employment and Discrimination

The UK has strong protection in the form of The Equality Act 2010, to protect people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. There are four main types of discrimination:

  • Direct – when you are treated ‘less favourably’ (differently and worse) than another person because of an actual or perceived ‘protected characteristic’, or by association with someone having a protected characteristic, and, without any lawful reason. Protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.
  • Indirect – this is when a ‘policy, practice or rule’, which applies to everybody in the same way, places you and others that share your protected characteristic at a disadvantage, and, the person applying the policy, practice or rule can’t show there’s a good enough objective reason for it. 
  • Harassment – covers unwanted behaviour that you find offensive, intimidating or humiliating.
  • Victimisation – when you are treated badly because you raised a complaint about discrimination or helped someone who was discriminated against.

The definition of race includes the different elements of colour, nationality and ethnic or national origin. So if you think you have been treated differently because you are Russian, or your employer thinks you are Russian, please do get in touch with us.

The law covers the action of ‘causing, instructing and inducing’ others, so the act of telling someone to discriminate against, harass or victimise someone, is unlawful of itself.

The law is very wide and applies to job applicants, trainees, employees, contract workers, office holders, self-employed people and those on secondment. It covers all areas of employment, protecting you from discrimination all the way from recruitment and selection to dismissal.

Practical Advice

  • Keep a written record of what happened, when and who it involved;
  • Take steps to secure any evidence which confirms your belief that you were discriminated against; and,
  • Get in touch with us as soon as possible and bear in mind, our advice will be affected by the facts of your case and strict legal time limits.

The time limit for making a claim for discrimination to the employment tribunal is three months from the last act of discrimination. Even though employment tribunals have discretion to allow late claims in, there must be exceptional reasons why the claim was not submitted in time.

Many good cases are lost because of hesitation or delay at the outset, so get in touch with us today on 0203 146 3549 / [email protected]

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Information about our own complaints process, raising concerns to the Legal Ombudsman and to us

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure here. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. 

You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

What do to if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint; and,
  • No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
  • No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
  • If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.

 Contact details

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