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Sexual orientation discrimination - how the Equality Act 2010 can protect you

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Sexual orientation discrimination - how the Equality Act 2010 can protect you

In this context discrimination can take place when you are treated unfavourably and therefore put at a detriment as a result of your sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is one of the nine characteristics that are protected under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.

The Equality Act 2010 protects you from unfavourable treatment as a result of:

  • Your sexual orientation
  • Your perceived sexual orientation (If you are treated unfavourably because someone thinks that you have a particular orientation - which is known as discrimination by perception), or;
  • Your association with someone of  a particular sexual orientation, (this is known as discrimination by association).

You may be subjected to discrimination, in the workplace. The four main types of discrimination in this context are:

  • Direct discrimination - this is where you are treated less favourably than others have been or would have been, as a result of your protected characteristic.
  • Indirect discrimination - this is where an organisation applies a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) that puts you at a disadvantage when compared to others, due to your protected characteristic
  • Harassment - this is where an organisation, or an employee, engages in unwanted conduct related to your protected characteristic, and that the conduct had the purpose or effect of violating your dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliation or offensive environment for you. 
  • Victimisation- this is where you are subjected to unfavourable treatment after and as a result of making a complaint about discrimination under the Equality Act 2020.

Such discrimination can be experienced during the recruitment process, the assignment of promotions, the provision of training, pay and/or benefits, redundancy and dismissal procedures.

Discrimination can also be experienced in your day to day life at the hands of:

  • A public body or authority, such as the NHS or your local council
  • An organisation providing goods or services
  • A provider of education

How we can help you

If you feel that you may have been subjected to discrimination, it is important to remember that there are strict time limits to bring such a claim in the County Court or the employment tribunal. It is therefore important that you seek specialist legal advice without delay following an incident of discrimination.

If you need further advice regarding discrimination, please contact our specialist discrimination and employment team on 01616 966 229

By Abigail Martland, employment and discrimination advisor