Rights of employees under the Equality Act 2010 - | Hudson McKenzie

Rights of employees under the Equality Act 2010

February 10, 2021 | Employment

The Equality Act 2010 was put in place to protect individuals from discrimination and unfair treatment in the work place and in wider society. The act covers the following protected characteristics: 

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Under the Act, you are protected from discrimination related to any of these characteristics and also if:

  • you’re associated with someone who has a protected characteristic, for example a family member or friend
  • you’ve complained about discrimination or supported someone else’s claim

Forms of discrimination

Discrimination doesn’t just come directly, there are different ways that you can be discriminated against in the workplace.  

Direct discrimination – This can come about if you are treated worse or less favourably than others because you have any of the protected characteristics mentioned above. For example, this could be selecting someone for redundancy due to them being pregnant for instance, or another protected characteristic. 

– Indirect discrimination – This can happen where you are put in a disadvantaged position due to rules or arrangements which apply to everyone else in the workplace but discriminate against those with any of the protected characteristics. For example, this could include implementing a particular dress code at work which discriminates against certain religions. 

– Harassment – This involves unwanted behaviour which violates someone’s dignity which is linked to a protected characteristic. 

– Victimisation – This comes about where someone is treated unfairly or poorly after submitting or supporting a complaint related to discrimination or harrassment. For example, if a colleague has made a complaint under the Equality Act due to being treated unfairly due to their race and you are subsequently treated poorly because you agree with and support their complaint, this may amount to victimisation. 

How does the Equality Act protect you at work?

  • If you are dismissed from work
  • Employment terms and conditions
  • If you are discriminated against when it comes to pay and benefits- for example, being paid less than another employee when you are doing work of equal value
  • If you are discriminated against when it comes to promotion and transfer opportunities
  • If you are discriminated against in relation to training- for example, you are not allowed to undergo training because you’re “too old”
  • If you are discriminated in the recruitment process- for example, you are not chosen for a job because of a protected characteristic 
  • If you are chosen for redundancy based on a protected characteristic 

Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require assistance with your corporate, employment or immigration matter, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at londoninfo@hudsonmckenzie.com or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.

The information provided does not amount to legal advice.