Discrimination on the following grounds is prevented by law:
- Sex (and pregnancy)
- Sexual Orientation
- Religion or Beliefs
Q: What is Discrimination?
A: It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against current or prospective employees on any of the above grounds.
Equal Opportunities Policy
Although this is not something that is required by law it is recommended that all employers should have an equal opportunities policy in place to address fairness at work and to prevent discrimination. Employers should also have an action plan to ensure that the policy is revisited from time to time. The policy will enable an employer to show to their employee, potential recruits and customers that they are serious about fairness and tackling discrimination and it will help employees understand their responsibilities to their colleagues and customers. The policy will also help an employer comply with the law.
The law prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the area of employment, education and the provisions of goods, facilities and services and in the disposal or management of premises.
The law applies to women and men of any age and applies in relation to job adverts, opportunities within a job i.e. promotion, pay, harassment or victimisation. Discrimination can be direct or indirect. Certain dismissals may also be considered to be unfair if they are related to, for example, pregnancy or maternity. This would also be sex discrimination.
The law prevents discrimination against disabled people in the areas of employment, provision of goods, facilities and services and premises, education and public transport.
An employer who does not make reasonable adjustments within the workplace to accommodate a disabled employee’s needs might be found to be discriminating against that employee. A disabled employee who is on sick leave may need particular consideration when an employer attempts to facilitate the employee’s return to work or thinks about dismissing the employee.
It is illegal to treat a person less favourably than others on racial grounds. These cover grounds of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), and national or ethnic origin.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination
It is unlawful for employers to discriminate or harass a person on the grounds of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
Religion or Belief Discrimination
These regulations prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the employment field.
The regulations also outlaw discrimination on the grounds of age. The regulations apply to all age groups and so old and young employees alike are afforded protection from discrimination on the grounds of age.
Compensation for discrimination
An employee who succeeds in a discrimination claim before a Tribunal will be awarded compensation for loss of earnings and also injury to feelings. The Tribunal has no ceiling on the amount of compensation that they can award in claims of discrimination.