free small business advice & information

Loading
Article Index
Discrimination
Illegal Discrimination
Test of Discrimination
Setting Standards
Equal Treatment
Dealing with a Complaint
Allowable Discrimination
Where to Get Help

Discrimination

1. Illegal Discrimination

Discrimination in employment is illegal when someone is treated less favourably because of one or more protected characteristics.

1.1 It is illegal to discriminate against anyone on grounds of race, colour, nationality or ethnic origins or on grounds of their religion or philosophical beliefs.

1.2 It is illegal to discriminate against anyone on grounds of their sex (including gender re-assignment) or marital status (including civil partnerships), or on grounds of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

  • You cannot discriminate because of pregnancy or maternity.

1.3 It is illegal to discriminate without justification against anyone on the grounds of disability.

  • Disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
  • You must investigate to see if the person could carry out the work with ‘reasonable adjustment’.

1.4 It is illegal to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of their age.

  • There is no default retirement age. You cannot force employees to retire at a set age unless objectively justified.
  • If you want to let an older employee go due to poor performance, you must go through the standard dismissal procedures

1.5 It is illegal to discriminate against fixed-term or part-time workers.

  • These workers must be treated no less favourably than full-timers, with the same terms and conditions on a pro rata basis.

1.6 It is illegal to discriminate against someone on the grounds of their membership or non-membership of a trade union.

1.7 Under the Equality Act 2010, positive discrimination is still illegal, but employers can use positive action during the recruitment process. For example, if two candidates are equally competent but one of them has a protected characteristic that is under-represented in that workplace, you are allowed to use that reason for selecting them rather than the other candidate.

BHP Infosolutions

Small Business Newsletter

Sign up to the weekly Small Business Newsletter, just enter your email address in the box below.