2 Preliminary steps and avoiding legal action

Preliminary steps and avoiding legal action

If, after raising an informal complaint with the service provider, you are not satisfied with their response, your next step is to put your complaint in writing. This could be a letter, sent by post or email.

Write the letter as soon as you can because if your complaint is not resolved and you eventually decide that you need to take the matter to court, you have to do this within six months from the date on which the discrimination took place.

Your letter needs to include the following information:

  • What service you tried to use.
  • The discrimination that took place and the effect that it had on you (in date order, with the most recent event last).
  • The names and job titles of people involved: for example, you may have the name of a shop assistant who treated you less favourably.
  • That you are writing in the hope of reaching a satisfactory resolution without having to take court action.
  • What you have already done to try to resolve matters: for example, any informal approaches you have made.
  • In the case of complaints about disability discrimination, any reasonable adjustments that could be made to help you to access the service: for example, if you are unable to get access to a service because of a step, you should request a permanent ramp as a reasonable adjustment.
  • What else you would like the service provider to do to put things right, such as an apology or a compensation payment).
  • Ask for a reply within 21 days.

Keep a copy of the letter. Send it by recorded delivery so that you have proof that the service provider has received it.

If you believe your case is strong, you can also tell the service provider that you have good evidence, such as witness statements, and so on. You may also want to remind the service provider that a settlement is likely to save them money, such as legal expenses.

If the service provider either does not reply, or you are not satisfied with the reply, but you want to take the matter further, you may have no alternative but to make a claim.

You should be careful to comply with the relevant time limits for making a claim. Don’t let your time for making a claim expire just because you are trying to resolve the matter without going to court.

Last Updated: 30 Dec 2009