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:
- Gender (sex)
- Religion / Belief
- 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.