Situations where equality law is different

Sometimes there are situations where equality law applies differently. This guide refers to these as exceptions.

There are several exceptions which relate to dismissal, redundancy or retirement and which apply to any employer:

  • Age limits, 
  • Obeying another law, and
  • National security.

There are two exceptions which relate to dismissal, redundancy or retirement and which apply only to some employers or jobs:

  • Having or not having a particular religion or belief, which applies only to religion or belief organisations, and 
  • Having or not having a particular protected characteristic, which applies only to organised religions or jobs for the purpose of an organised religion.

There are also specific requirements which employers need to consider if redundancy decisions affect women who are pregnant or on maternity leave.

This guide only lists the exceptions that apply to dismissal, redundancy or retirement. There are other exceptions, which apply in other situations, for example, when you are recruiting someone to do a job.

As well as these exceptions, equality law allows you to treat a disabled person better – or more favourably – than a non-disabled person. This recognises that disabled people face a lot of barriers to participating in work and other activities.

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Last Updated: 28 Jul 2010