The following information is provided by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
The Equality Act 2010 clarified the concept of ‘Protected Characteristics’. These are particularly important in terms of employment law. It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
A brief description of each of the protected characteristic is shown below.
Age: A person of a particular age (for example, a 60-year-old) or a range of ages (e.g.,18- to 30-year-olds). Most instances of age discrimination occur with older members of the workforce.
Disability: A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Gender reassignment: The process of transitioning from one gender to another.
Marriage and civil partnership: Marriage is a union between a man and a woman or between a same-sex couple. Same-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as ‘civil partnerships’. Civil partners must not be treated less favourably than married couples (except where permitted by the Equality Act).
Pregnancy and maternity: Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.
Race: Refers to the protected characteristic of race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.
Religion and belief: Religion refers to any religion, including a lack of religion. Belief refers to any religious or philosophical belief and includes a lack of belief. Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.
Sex: A man or a woman must not be treated differently because they are a man or a woman.
Sexual orientation: Whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.
The Equality Act: to find out more about the Equality Act 2010, which provides the legal framework to tackle disadvantage and discrimination, please visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website at https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en
For any queries about Protected Characteristics, please contact email@example.com