Detriments in employment

Many statutory employment rights have provisions which give legal protection to employees who try to assert their rights but are unfairly treated by their employer in response.


A detriment can be any sort of treatment which the employee feels is unfair or has put them at a disadvantage.  The treatment will need to be more than a trivial incident but other than this it can be treatment of a relatively minor nature.  The treatment need not be deliberate and could arise from an error or a mistake.


Examples of detrimental treatment could include:

  • demeaning comments
  • negative or unfriendly attitudes being adopted
  • denial of training or promotion
  • moving of work location
  • being given menial or unreasonable amounts of work
  • exclusion from social activities


Proving that the treatment is an unlawful detriment needs careful thought and the link below will help you establish the link.


Proving detriment in asserting employment rights


In this context the term employee is also important - it has a legal definition and not all people in work will be employees so you will need to check that you are covered.


The table below sets out the statutory rights where detriment is unlawful. 

Adoption leave
Employee representatives
Employees in England aged 16 or 17 participating in education or training
Health and safety
Jury Service
Leave for family and domestic reasons
Maternity leave
Occupational pension scheme trustee
Parental leave
Part time workers
Paternity leave
Protected disclosures ('whistleblowing')
Sunday working for shop and betting workers
Tax credits
Time off for study or training
Union membership or activities
Working time cases

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