Comparators in direct discrimination cases

You must compare your treatment to another person if you wish to file a claim for discrimination. This is known as a comparator.

This page will provide more information about the role of comparators in cases of direct discrimination.

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What is a comparator?

Direct discrimination refers to when someone is treated differently than another person because of certain factors, such as because they are disabled or because they are black. These reasons are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

To prove that you have suffered discrimination directly, you must compare your treatment to someone who does not have the same protected characteristic. This person is called a comparator under the Equality Act.

Comparator is someone in a similar or similar situation to yours, but without the same protected characteristic.

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What does it mean to be in a similar situation?

You don’t have to be in the same situation as your comparator. However, you must have enough similarities between you that it is clear that the reason for the worse treatment was the protected characteristic.

You don’t have to compare yourself with someone else if there isn’t one.

A real person can serve as a comparator. Sometimes it is impossible to find someone who is in the exact same or similar situation as you. This happens because this situation has never been experienced before. You can use a hypothetical comparator if this is the case.

You might be able find someone who is similar enough to yours to prove that your treatment was due to your protected characteristic.

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As evidence, you can use the treatment of multiple people

You may also need evidence to prove that another person in the same situation was treated better, even if they don’t have your protected characteristic.

If you are discriminated against, it is obvious.

It is possible to prove that you were discriminated against by simply focusing on the reason behind your treatment. The court can decide that you have been discriminated against if it is clear that you were treated poorly because of a protected attribute.

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Locating a comparator for cases of disability discrimination

If you are discriminated against due to disability, the comparator can be someone who isn’t affected by your disability but has the same skills and abilities as you. You can choose to be a comparator, someone who isn’t disabled or someone with another disability.

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