What is victimisation?

Advice and Guidance

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  • Public sector

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What does the Act say about victimisation?

Victimisation is defined in the Act as:

Treating someone badly because they have done a ‘protected act’ (or because you believe that a person has done or is going to do a protected act).

A ‘protected act’ is:

  • Making a claim or complaint of discrimination (under the Equality Act).
  • Helping someone else to make a claim by giving evidence or information.
  • Making an allegation that you or someone else has breached the Act.
  • Doing anything else in connection with the Act.

If you do treat a student less favourably because they have taken such action then this will be unlawful victimisation. There must be a link between what the student did and your treatment of them. 

The less favourable treatment does not need to be linked to a protected characteristic.

For example:

A tutor shouts at a student because he thinks she intends to support another student’s sexual harassment claim. This would amount to victimisation.

Who is not protected?

A student who in bad faith gives false information or evidence (that is, they knew that it was false) or makes an allegation that was false and given in bad faith would not be protected against victimisation. 

For example:

A student with a grudge against his tutor knowingly gives false evidence in another student’s discrimination claim against the university. He is subsequently excluded from the course for supporting the claim. This treatment could not amount to victimisation because his evidence was untrue and given in bad faith.  

It doesn’t matter whether the original complaint/claim is upheld as long as it was not made in bad faith.

Last updated: 19 Feb 2019

Further information

If you think you might have been treated unfairly and want further advice, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service.

Phone: 0808 800 0082

You can email using the contact form on the EASS website.

Also available through the website are BSL interpretation, web chat services and a contact us form.


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closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays

Alternatively, you can visit our advice and guidance page.