Exceptions in discrimination

There are situations in which an employer is able to discriminate by applying a requirement for an employee to have a particular protected characteristic if it can show that it needs to achieve an occupational requirement for the work in question.


The employer will need to show that, having regard to the nature or context of the work:

  • it is an occupational requirement,
  • the application of the requirement is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, and
  • the person to whom A applies the requirement does not meet it (or the employer has reasonable grounds for not being satisfied that the person meets it).


Common applications may be or individuals of a particular race, sex, sexuality or nationality to work in services that cater for particular groups or provide particular services – fore example a Chinese restaurant wishes to recruit staff of Chinese origin as waters to stay in keeping with its service.


The Schedule also makes provision for organised religions to be able to apply occupational requirements relating to sex, sexuality and marriage in relation to its activities and employment.


These restrictions will be interpreted narrowly to ensure that it is a genuine requirement of the organisation rather than a preference for particular types of individuals.

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