Discrimination within the Workplace

Discrimination in the workplace is fairly noticeable to the average person. If you are treated differently from a fellow employee because of any of the factors bellow, it is called direct discrimination. It can however, be far more subtle - for example, a job advert that calls for someone who is 'mature', meaning someone of a certain age.

This is not as obvious - but still discriminatory. In this instance, it would indirect discrimination as it is not directed at any particular person. This article aims to outline the different kinds of discrimination within the modern workplace.

In the United Kingdom, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against and employee based on a person's race (which covers country of origin, nationality and ethnic group) gender, religion, sexuality or disabilities. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, covers all forms of sexual discrimination ranging from any sexual remarks to unwanted physical contact. This is direct discrimination and can be aimed at both men and woman. Sex discrimination applies to both sexual discrimination and discriminating against someone because of the gender. All jobs should be open for both male and female applicants with the exception of acting, modeling and jobs involving physical contact with the opposite sex.

It is illegal for someone to be discriminated against on the grounds of their sexual orientation. The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 put a stop to direct and indirect discrimination based on sexuality. This law also prohibits employers or collogues from making any presumption about a person's sexual preference. It also protects people who associate with the people who experience this type of discrimination.

Disabled workers are protected by The Disability Discrimination Act 1995. This law protects disabled people from any discrimination at work and it is applicable to companies that have 20 or more employees. It is illegal to treat an able bodied employee any more favorably that one with a disability. The law also states that when a company employs a disabled worker, it should make the necessary changes to working environment in order for them to carry out their duties. Discrimination against religion or belief has been stopped by The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

This law not only protects those in the work place, but students at school or college etc. The regulations outlaw victimization as well as direct and indirect discrimination. It is also illegal for any company or organization to treat employees or candidates differently based on their age. It is against the law to refuse training and/or education to a person due to their age. This Law covers the whole of England, Scotland and Wales.

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 has also put a stop to any job adverts that may be considered age-specific. Older workers are now protected against any form of harassment in the workplace and will no longer be overlooked for promotion due to their age. They are entitled to the same salary and benefits as the average employee and cannot have their contract ended based upon how old they are. Age can not be used as a criterion for stopping someone from receiving a promotion or pay rise. Discriminating against someone due to their colour, nationality, or ethnic or national origins is prohibited under The Race Relations Act. Employers must allow the vast majority of positions and/or training schemes to be filled by a member of any race.

Some exceptions are modeling, acting or restaurants where a certain race is required for authenticity. All races are entitled to the same terms of contract, the same promotions, training and any other opportunities in the workplace. Although the TUC Guide to Equality Law states that 'everyone should have the same rights at work', the average woman is still paid 19% less than the average man and part-time workers still receive an average of 41% less than full-time employers.

A disabled person is still twice as likely to be unemployed than a non-disabled person. Bangladeshi and Pakistani people are still three times as likely to be unemployed than white people and a whopping 43% of gay or lesbian trade union workers have said that they still receive direct discrimination whilst at work. This publication is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Consequently Ltd cannot accept any liability for any action taken or not taken in reliance upon this information.

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