How do I deal with discrimination?

I was recently promised a promotion with a much-needed pay rise, but my employer recruited a new HR Director and it hasn’t been mentioned since. What’s more, I’m constantly fobbed-off by my manager when I ask about it. I have a feeling my ethnic origin plays a part in this because everyone else's pay rises have been sorted out. I’ve only been in the job for nine months, so know I have limited rights. What can I do?

Firstly, although you’ve spoken to your manager about the situation, have you had the chance to check out where you stand with your Human Resources (HR) department? If you feel that you are being unfairly treated then you may want to speak with them regarding your rights and the company’s grievance procedure.

If you feel that you’ve been unfairly treated because of your race, you should not be made to feel powerless, there are laws to protect and aid you in these difficult situations.

Even though you’ve been in the job for less than a year you do have rights, as this is possibly a case of discrimination. These rights existed as soon as the advert appeared. Again, Acas can advise on this issue but you may find that the Equality and Human Rights Commission, available on 0808 800 0082, or your local Law Centre may be of more help in a case like this, especially if you need representation.

In dealing with any employment issue, you’ll need to show that you have tried to resolve this at work (by raising a formal grievance) before being able to take the case to the Employment Tribunal.

It’s difficult to deal with discrimination in any aspect of life and if you feel you’re being singled out because of this issue there are people you can talk to. Acas offers free, confidential and impartial advice on all employment rights issues. You can call the helpline on 08457 474747.

It sounds as though you are also suffering from work-related stress, which can be made even more difficult when personal matters, such as financial problems, come into the picture too.

You don’t mention whether you’ve actually spoken to anyone else about how you’re feeling at the moment. It can be hard to talk to people sometimes about emotions, but talking about how you feel in general and how you feel about your job might be beneficial for you.

If you don’t feel that you can talk things over with someone from your family or a trusted friend, another option would be to see a counsellor. They would be able to help you explore your feelings about what you might like to do in the future and perhaps work out some other ways of coping with the stress you’re experiencing.

You may also find it useful to talk to someone about the financial problems you’re experiencing. You can access free, confidential and unbiased advice and information by contacting National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 or 0800 138 1111.

Answered by bss on 25-Sep-2012

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