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Defending claims of victimisation

Businesses are liable for all acts of their employees and agents in the context of a discriminatory victimisation claim, whether the business did or did not have knowledge and/or approve of the alleged actions of their staff or agents.

An individual may have cause to bring a complaint or claim of victimisation if they are disadvantaged in any way as a result of having or having been believed by the business to have alleged or reported discrimination, issued tribunal or court proceedings as a result of discrimination or if they have assisted another individual in doing so.

The individual must prove a link between them having done one of these protected acts, that they did so in good faith and the disadvantage that they have suffered as a result.

Giving false evidence or information, or making a false allegation, is not a protected act if the evidence or information is given, or the allegation is made, in bad faith.


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Defending a complaint or claim of victimisation

Where a complaint or claim of victimisation is received, the best way to attempt to defend it, is to first investigate and gather as much evidence as possible to establish whether the alleged conduct and / or detriment alleged has occurred. This could include the gathering and consideration of CCTV footage, audio recordings, witness statements of staff involved and all equality and diversity policies and training records available.

What if the victimisation didn’t take place?

If you find that the conduct alleged has not occurred then all evidence in support of this can be referred to in any response to the complaint or claim.

What if the victimisation did take place?

If your investigation reveals that the acts complained of did take place, then the level of any detriment that the service user may have suffered should be considered. If it can be proven that no such detriment has been suffered then a business may be able to defend the complaint/claim on this basis.

In any event, it is extremely important to seek specialist legal advice and assistance in dealing with complaints or claims of this nature to protect your businesses reputation and minimise the potentially costly consequences of a claim and proceedings escalating. Contact our employment and discrimination team on 0161 696 6170.

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