The Equality Act (2010)

The Equality Act (2010) consolidated and streamlined previous anti-discrimination legislation.  The Act reformed and harmonised discrimination law and strengthened it to support progress on equality.

The ‘protected characteristics’, grounds upon which discrimination is unlawful, are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy or maternity status
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership status
  • Religion or belief (which includes lack of belief)
  • Sexual orientation

Discrimination on any of the above means we are breaking the law.  It would also damage the University’s reputation as a good place to work and is against our values.  We want to provide a workplace which respects diversity and is open to everyone.

Types of discrimination

Discrimination can happen during any part of the recruitment and selection process and can happen directly, indirectly, by association, by perception or by failing to make reasonable adjustments based on any of the nine protected characteristics.

Direct discrimination

Treating someone less favourably than another person because of one of one or more of the protected characteristics.

Example: A female candidate for a job with the best qualifications and experience does not get an interview, but a male candidate with fewer qualifications does.

Indirect discrimination

Asking for something, or doing something, which creates a disadvantage to a group of people who are defined by one of the protected characteristics.

Example: A job has an age restriction and also asks for several years experience.  This may stop more women applying than men because quite a lot of women take time out of their careers to raise a family.

Associative discrimination

Discriminating against someone because they are associated with someone else with a protected characteristic.

Example: The panel reject a candidate because they know she has a disabled child and are worried that this may affect her ability to work flexible hours.

Perceptive discrimination

Discriminating against someone because you think they have one of the protected characteristics, regardless of whether they do or not.

Example: A candidate is not offered a job because the selection panel think they are homosexual.

Failing to make reasonable adjustments relating to any of the protected characteristics

Example: Not giving a Braille application form to a blind candidate or not rearranging an interview which falls on a religious festival.