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It is against the law to discriminate against a worker on grounds of sexual orientation. If you feel you are experiencing discrimination, you should keep a record of relevant instances, when they occurred and who witnessed them. 

Keep a copy of any evidence you find – including, for example, texts, Facebook posts and so on. 

Then, if you have to raise the matter formally, you can support your case with specific examples. 

Often it is best to start by raising the issue informally, either directly with the person concerned or, if you feel unable to do that, with your manager. If your manager is the person discriminating against you or harassing you, raise it with another manager or with HR. You may wish to seek advice from your trade union. 

If you haven’t already done so, join a union. Unions are expert at resolving equality issues and at supporting individual members who are facing discrimination at work. They can also bring about improvements, such as better equality policies, training and promotion opportunities, that benefit all LGBT workers across the organisation. 

You can find out more information about how to join a union, and about choosing the union most suited to you, by using our Union Finder tool. 

Your employer may have a specific policy in place outlawing all forms of bullying and harassment at work, including discriminatory harassment. If they do, you should check it and follow its guidance when raising a complaint. 

Large employers often also have specific Dignity at Work policies and Codes of Conduct, which typically commit the employer to ‘zero tolerance’ of all forms of discrimination and harassment. Some employers, for example, provide a confidential ‘hotline’ so that you can report your concerns. 

If you decide to complain formally about your treatment, you should use your company's grievance procedure, or any specific procedure in place where you work. You have a legal right to be accompanied to a meeting by a trade union representative or a colleague. 

As well as getting advice and support from your union, you could contact an LGBT rights charity such as Stonewall

These are difficult issues for anyone to confront head on with a hostile employer. This is especially true if you are in a precarious position – for example, if you are in your first job, or are an agency worker or have a zero-hours contract with no job security. These are all good reasons for joining a trade union if you are not already a member. 

If you are not able to find any other way of resolving the situation, you may want to consider a claim in the employment tribunal for sexual orientation discrimination. 

Deadlines in the employment tribunal are short. The claim must be brought within three months of the act complained of or, if there is a series of acts, from the last in the series. 

The first step in any tribunal claim is to contact Acas for early conciliation. You do this by submitting an Acas Early Conciliation Notification Form. You can find out more information about Acas Early Conciliation here. Acas early conciliation is free of charge. 

You must submit the Acas Early Conciliation Form within the three-month time limit for bringing your claim or your claim will be out of time and the tribunal will not be able to consider it. 

Tribunal deadlines are short and are strictly enforced. Only rarely do tribunals agree to extend the deadline if you miss it. 

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.
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