What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is a legal term used not only in employment, but in society as a whole. It is defined as the unfair or prejudicial treatment of individuals and / or groups of people based on specific characteristics. In the UK, there are a number of characteristics which were classed as ‘protected characteristics’ in the 2010 Equality Act and these include:

  • Age
  • Gender (sex)
  • Race
  • Religion / Belief
  • Disability
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Reassignment Status
  • Pregnancy and Maternity Status
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership Status

In employment, it is illegal to treat someone differently because of their belonging to, or perceived belonging, to one of these groups or as a result of them having, or being perceived to have, a particular characteristic.