Discriminatory practice can occur on three levels, which are not mutually exclusive:
Discrimination on an individual basis happens as a result of the prejudice of others. This may include exclusion, insults or violence, as in the cases described above. An individual may be singled out and treated differently; bullying in school is the result of an individual being singled out in this way.
Discrimination at an institutional level occurs, for example, through an organisational culture that fails to adequately implement and monitor anti-discriminatory policies and practice. When such an organisation is providing public services, the results can be extremely serious. Organisational culture is expressed through an organisation’s rules, regulations and practices.
Discrimination on a structural level occurs when whole communities and societies have discriminatory views or beliefs about certain people. A whole community can pass on discrimination. People see the world from their culture and this is a reflection on society.
The way in which discriminatory practice is displayed can be either overt (direct) or covert (indirect). Direct discrimination is usually quite clear and obvious – for example, if someone was refused a job opportunity because of his or her age or racial origin. There does not have to be an intention to discriminate; for the law to be broken, it is sufficient if someone suffers from discrimination. Indirect discrimination, on the other hand, is much more subtle and difficult to prove; it may occur when people seem as though they are being treated alike. Indirect discrimination often occurs when a condition is applied that is much harder for one group to meet than another and where there is no basis for it. For example, giving less favourable terms for a pension scheme to part-time employees would be indirect discrimination against part-time workers and, because women make up the majority of part-time workers, these...