The Project

The Legal Case

The Legal Case for Diversity
Kathy Daniels

In the UK, discrimination legislation is covered by the Equality Act 2010 (EqA). The EqA makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of nine protected characteristics. They are age, disability, marital status/civil partnership, maternity/pregnancy, race, religion/belief, sex, sexual orientation and transgender status.

Discrimination is divided into six different types:

  • Direct discrimination is treating someone less favourably due to a protected characteristic.
  • Associative discrimination is a form of direct discrimination. It is treating someone less favourably because of the protected characteristic of someone they associate with.
  • Perceptive discrimination is also a form of direct discrimination. It is treating someone less favourably because it is perceived that they have a particular protected characteristic.
  • Indirect discrimination is applying a provision, criterion or practice to all. It is more difficult for a group with a particular protected characteristic to comply, it is to the detriment of an individual and it is not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
  • Harassment is unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.
  • Victimisation is treating someone less favourably because they have brought a claim of discrimination, or have supported someone who has brought a claim. 

In addition, there is a specific type of claim relating to disability – discrimination arising from disability. This is treating someone less favourably for a reason that arises because the person is disabled. 

Claims relating to discrimination are brought in the Employment Tribunal. If successful, there is no cap on the amount of compensation which can be awarded to a claimant.

Further Reading

Daniels, K; & MacDonald, L (2005). Equality, Discrimination and Diversity.
CIPD Publishing.

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