The questions procedure

If you think you may have been unlawfully discriminated against, then you can get information from your employer, to help you decide if you have a valid claim or not.

There is a set form to help you do this which you can access at: www.equalities.gov.uk, but your questions will still count even if you do not use the form, so long as you use the same questions.  The form is sometimes called a 'questionnaire'.

If you send the questions to your employer, they are not legally required to reply to the request, or to answer the questions, but it may harm their case in the Employment Tribunal if they do not.

The questions and the answers can form part of the evidence in a case brought under the Equality Act 2010 (in other words, the law explained in this guide).

You can send your employer the questions before you make your claim to the Employment Tribunal, or at the same time, or after you have sent your claim.

If it is before, then you must send the questions to your employer so that they receive them within three months of what you believe was the unlawful discrimination.

If you have already sent your claim to the Employment Tribunal, then you must send the questions to your employer so that they receive them within 28 days of your claim being received by the Employment Tribunal.

If your employer does not respond to the questions within eight weeks of being sent them, the Employment Tribunal can take that into account when making its decision. The Employment Tribunal can also take into account answers which are evasive or unclear.

  • There is an exception to this. The Employment Tribunal cannot take the failure to answer into account if a person or organisation states that to give an answer could prejudice criminal proceedings and this is reasonable. Most of the time, breaking equality law only leads to a claim in a civil tribunal or court. Occasionally, breaking equality law can be punished by the criminal courts. In that situation, the person or organisation may be able to refuse to answer the questions, if in answering they might incriminate themselves and it is reasonable for them not to answer. If your employer says this applies to them, you should get more advice on what to do.

If you send your employer the questions, your employer must not treat you badly because you have done this. If your employer did, it would almost certainly be victimisation.

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