Back to guide index

Employment law guide

Equality and discrimination

It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone at work because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, or membership (or non-membership) of a trade union.

The Equality Act 2010 came into force on October 1st 2010 and replaces numerous pieces of separate legislation, which had been previously introduced piecemeal over several decades to cover different forms of workplace discrimination, with one unified legal framework.

The Equality Act has replaced the old separate approaches to race, sex and age discrimination with the much simpler concept of people having “protected characteristics” and of there being “prohibited conduct” by employers.

The protected characteristics are:

Prohibited conduct is:

Although the law generally assigns the same protection to each of the protected characteristics, there are certain exceptions that can apply in different areas of employment.

Someone who believes they are the victim of discrimination at work can make a claim to an Employment Tribunal and could be awarded compensation for any damage or loss suffered including injury to feelings.

Lawrite Lawshop

Get templates for an equality policy and disability discrimination policy in the Lawrite Employment Law Documents package for employers in the UK.

Subscriptions to the Lawrite Employment Law Documents package start at £125 (1-10 employees licence). Or subscribe to the Employment Law Service to get unlimited telephone legal advice from lawyers, too.

Buy an annual subscription to the Lawrite Employment Law Documents package at the Lawrite Lawshop and download your templates immediately.