Supporting someone's complaint - Witnessing discrimination

Supporting someone's complaint

Ways you could support someone else's discrimination complaint include:

  • making a witness statement
  • appearing as a witness at a grievance hearing
  • acting as a 'companion' at a grievance hearing

Making a witness statement

If you're making a witness statement, you should:

  • say what you have seen, heard or experienced
  • give the facts clearly, including names, dates and times
  • say if you're not sure about something
  • not exaggerate or play down what's happened

How you make a witness statement will depend on your organisation's procedure. Usually this will involve someone interviewing you and writing down what you say.

If you're particularly worried about making a statement, you can ask for it to be anonymous. Your employer does not have to agree and there can be disadvantages.

For example, your evidence might not be taken as seriously. It might have to be backed up by someone else who's willing to be named.

Keeping your identity secret cannot be guaranteed. For example, if the case goes to an employment tribunal, you might be asked to give evidence in person.

Being a witness at a hearing

You might be asked to give evidence at a grievance hearing.

A 'hearing' is a meeting where your employer hears all the evidence to make a final decision.

If you're uncomfortable about giving evidence, the person managing the hearing should talk with you. They should try to resolve any concerns you have.

Find out more about being a witness in a grievance procedure

How the law protects you

Discrimination law (Equality Act 2010) protects you from being victimised because you've supported someone else's complaint. This means you must not be:

  • stopped from giving evidence
  • treated less favourably as a result of making a complaint, giving evidence or supporting a complaint

Find out more about victimisation

Get more advice and support

For help and advice, you can:

If you're struggling to cope and need someone to talk to, you can contact:

  • Samaritans
  • an employee assistance programme (EAP) if your employer has one
Last reviewed