Time limits for legal action in discrimination

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The Equality Act 2010 is the law that says you can’t be discriminated. It is illegal to discriminate against people who are in violation of the Act. You can file a complaint under the Act if you have been discriminated against.

This includes a civil claim. The courts will not generally accept claims that are not filed within a specified time limit.

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This page explains the time limit for filing a discrimination claim. This page does not cover discrimination at work, as there are other time limits.

What are the deadlines for filing a court claim?

Your claim must be filed in court within six months, less than one day after the date of discrimination. It is not sufficient to simply post your claim, the court must receive it before the deadline.

If the discrimination occurred on the 13th February, for example, the court must receive your claim by midnight on the 12th.

The time limit for discrimination at work is 3 months less than 1 day. Calculating the time limit applicable to your case It can be hard to determine when discrimination occurred. Sometimes, it could be a single incident. Sometimes, discrimination can be a pattern of behavior that extends over time.

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Discrimination that occurs over a time period

If discrimination is ongoing over a time period, the time limit begins to run at the close of the period. If the discrimination continues, it is considered to be ongoing. The discrimination ceases if the incidents are separate or unrelated.

The courts will determine if discrimination continues and if your claim was filed in time.

You should consult an experienced adviser, such as a Citizens Advice Bureau, if you are unsure about the effect of the time limit on your case.

Failure to complete a task

Discrimination can sometimes occur when someone fails to do something that they are required to under the Equality Act. For example, if a bank refuses to make reasonable adjustments so you can use their services or access them. The time limit begins to run in this instance when the person makes the decision to not do it, or in certain cases after a reasonable period of time in which they would have been expected comply with their duty.

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These circumstances can also have time limitations. You should seek specialist advice, such as from a Citizens Advice Bureau, on how this might affect you case.

What happens if your claim is not filed within the prescribed time?

The courts will only accept your claim if the court considers it fair and just if you do not file your claim within the prescribed time. They will accept an out-of-time claim only if it is fair to both you and the person or organization you are suing.

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  • Additional useful information
  • Equality Advisory Support Service
  • The EASS Discrimination Helpline can help you if you’ve been discriminated against.
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