Discrimination in the Work Place

Unfortunately discrimination can happen at work. According to the Equality Act 2010, employees cannot be directly or indirectly (by association or by perception) discriminated against or harassed due to protected characteristic. The protected characteristics are:


  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender identity or gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation.


There are six types of discrimination:


    • Direct discrimination – This occurs when an employer treats an employee less favourably due to one of the above protected characteristic.


    • Indirect discrimination-This happens when an employer applies a criteria universally to all employees which has an unfavourable effect on a particular group as a result of a protected characteristic.


    • Harassment- This is unwanted behaviour which arises from a protected characteristic and violates an employee’s dignity and creates a hostile environment for them.


    • Victimisation-This takes place when an individual is treated less favourably for complaining about discrimination or giving information about discrimination happening to a fellow employee.


    • Discrimination by association-This arises where an employer treats an employee less favourably because of their association with an individual who has a protected characteristic.


  • Discrimination by perception-This ensues when an employer believes an employee to have a protected characteristic  and treats that employee unfavourably because of that belief whether it is true or not.


The Equality Act also provides that if an employee harasses another employee then the employer can also be found guilty of discrimination. If you have suffered discrimination at work as an employee or face discrimination issues as an employer our experienced solicitors at Mitchells Roberton are here to advise you.

Do you have more questions about Employment Law topics? Go back to the Employment Law page for help from our expert team.


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