Creating a fairer Britain
This guide calls you a worker if you are working for someone else (who this guide calls your employer) in a work situation. Most situations are covered, even if you don't have a written contract of employment or if you are a contract worker rather than an employee. Other types of worker such as trainees, apprentices and business partners is also covered. If you are not sure, check under 'work situation' in the Glossary. Sometimes, equality law only applies to particular types of worker, such as employees, and we make it clear if this is the case.
Make sure you know what is meant by:
These are known as protected characteristics.
Unlawful discrimination can take a number of different forms:
If you are a disabled person, your employer must not treat you unfavourably because of something connected to your disability where they cannot show that what they are doing is objectively justified. This only applies if they know or could reasonably be expected to know that you are a disabled person. This is called discrimination arising from disability.
An employer who runs a fashion store turns down a worker who is a disabled person for a promotion to a customer-facing role, even though she is well-qualified for the job. The worker is a person of restricted growth and very few of the clothes the store sells fit her, which means she could not meet the requirement the employer has that shop staff should wear the clothes the store sells. The worker has been treated unfavourably (not getting the promotion) because of something arising from her disability (that she cannot wear standard sized clothing). This is almost certainly discrimination arising from disability unless the employer can objectively justify the requirement to wear particular clothes. This may also be a failure to make a reasonable adjustment.
An employer does not offer a worker a chance of a promotion because they think the worker is gay, even though they are not, and they do not think other workers would like to be managed by them. This is likely to be direct discrimination because of sexual orientation.
An employer does not offer a worker training. This is because last year the worker supported a colleague in a complaint that she had been harassed at work. If the previous complaint is the reason for the failure to give the worker the assessment, this is likely to be victimisation.
An employer makes someone who is being interviewed for promotion feel humiliated by telling jokes about their religion or belief during the interview.
In addition, if you are a disabled person, to make sure that you have the same access, as far as is reasonable, to everything that is involved in getting and doing a job as a non-disabled person, your employer must make reasonable adjustments.
A suitably qualified and experienced disabled worker who has an impairment which affects their hand and arm mobility is promoted to a position where they need to word process documents. Their employer provides them with assistive technology to help with this part of the role. While they are waiting for the technology to be installed, the employer arranges for a temporary audio typist to assist them instead.