Claims for discrimination at work are set to rise following the introduction this week of new laws.

The new laws make it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality and religion. Laws to stamp out religious discrimination in Northern Ireland have been in force for some time, said Plexus Law partner Luke Maclachlan.

Maclachlan said: "There will be an increase in claims against legal expenses, and directors' and officers' policies, especially where employment practices are specifically covered. But it is difficult to say how big the increase will be."

He added that brokers and others should take a look at their own businesses and also the risk management advice that they were giving to clients.

Maclachlan said that sex and race discrimination were already covered and for most companies it was simply a matter of extending employment practices to cover the new areas.