England: Sexual orientation discrimination cases rise 165 per cent in five years

England: Sexual orientation discrimination cases rise 165 per cent in five years

Jayne Harrison

Sexual orientation discrimination cases have increased 165 per cent since 2015, according to new data from compliance training specialist DeltaNet International and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The study analysed over 120,000 discrimination cases that went to employment tribunals and included cases of sexual orientation, disability, race, age, gender and pregnancy-related complaints.

Sexual orientation claims have increased 165 per cent since 2015/16 to almost 500 cases in 2019/20.

The statistics show that discrimination has increased across 7 categories, with only discrimination on the basis of age declining in number of cases since 2015. The following points show the percentage increase in cases:

  • Sexual orientation (+165 per cent)
  • Disability discrimination (+133 per cent)
  • Religion or belief discrimination (+131 per cent)
  • Race discrimination (+95 per cent)
  • Pregnancy discrimination (+87 per cent)
  • Sex discrimination (+15 per cent)
  • Age discrimination (-81 per cent)

A gender-fluid employee at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) was awarded £180,000 in compensation earlier this month after employment tribunal case against their employer on the basis of sexual orientation discrimination.

In a statement, JLR apologised to Ms Taylor 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.

Jayne Harrison, head of employment Law at Richard Nelson LLP, said: “It has become far more accessible for employees to lodge sexual orientation discrimination cases. 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.”

Darren Hockley, MD at DeltaNet International, added: “As the data reveals, the best method of avoiding employment tribunals is to treat staff with fairness, dignity, and respect – and to follow clearly laid-out procedures.

“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.”

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