What is a Protected Characteristic? Our Employment Solicitors Explain

As an employer you’re probably aware that you’re not allowed to discriminate against someone. But do you know what that means? As an employment solicitor, I’m aware that many employers don’t fully grasp how discrimination occurs or how to prevent it.

The law does not allow you (or your staff) to treat someone less favourably because of a ‘protected characteristic‘.

There are 9 protected characteristics.

1.  Age

This refers to a person belonging to a particular  age (e.g. 32 year olds) or range of ages (e.g. 18 – 30 year olds).

2. Disability

A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

3.  Gender reassignment

The process of transitioning from one gender to another.

4. Marriage and civil partnership

Marriage is defined as a ‘union between a man and a woman’. Same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognised as ‘civil partnerships’.

5. Pregnancy and maternity

This covers the full term of pregnancy, as well as the period after the birth.

6. Race

This means a group of people defined by their race, colour,  nationality, ethnic or national origins.

7. Religion and belief

Religion has the meaning usually given to it. Belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. atheism)

8.         Sex

Simply put, whether an employee is a man or a woman.

9.         Sexual orientation

Whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes

Do you need to speak to an employment solicitor?

Give me a call on 01604 619 819 to find out how we can help you to avoid discrimination and stay out of the Employment Tribunal by having a clear equal opportunites policy.