Protected characteristics are personal characteristics which are protected by discrimination law. Under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) only the following characteristics are protected. Claims can only be brought under the Act in respect of a relevant protected characteristic:

  • Age (all ages are protected, not just older people)
  • Disability (a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on someone’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities)
  • Gender reassignment (a person who is, has or is proposing to, change sex, note it does not cover transvestites)
  • Marriage and civil partnership (does not cover single status)
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race (includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins)
  • Religion or belief (or lack of religion)
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation (includes orientation towards the same sex, opposite sex or either sex)

To find out more about how these protected characteristics can give rise to rights in respect of discrimination, harassment and victimisation and how these rights can be infringed, click here.

 

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Updates: For employers: Discrimination | For employees: Discrimination |
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