Prohibited conduct

Prohibited or unlawful conduct under the Equality Act is defined in a number of ways that seek to protect individuals who are disadvantaged by a number of types of behaviour.

 

Less favourable treatment

The first type of conduct is where the individual is treated less favourably than a person who does not share the same protected characteristic.  This is called 'direct' discrimination.

 

Direct discrimination requires that the less favourable treatment is 'because of' the protected characteristic rather than some other unrelated cause.  Generally this requires a comparison to be made between the way you have been treated and the way another person has been or would be treated.

 

More on direct discrimination

 

Disproportionate disadvantage

Discrimination can also arise where a rule or practice operated by the employer causes more disadvantage to a person in a group which shares a protected characteristic.  This is called 'indirect' discrimination.

 

More on indirect discrimination

 

Harassment

If a person is subjected to offensive or humiliating behaviour for reasons relating to a protected characteistic then they may be being suffering unlawful harassment.

 

More on harassment

 

Victimisation

Victimisation has a particular definition in the Equality Act and occurs when a person is subjected to detrimental treatment because they have done a 'protected act'.

 

Protected acts are generally asserting or preparing to assert rights under the Equality Act or helping others to do so.

 

More on victimisation

 

Failing to make reasonable adjustments

Where a person is disabled and put at a disadvantage in the workplace an employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to the work or workplace to enable the employee to overcome that disadvantage.

 

More on reasonable adjustments

 

Discrimination arising from disability

Where a person is disabled and they are treated 'unfavourably' because of something that arises in consequence of their disability they may be suffering discrimination.

 

More on discrimination arising from disability

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Zero increases by 26%

The Office for National Statistics has released new figures that show nearly 700,000 people work on zero hours contracts - up 26% from last year.  The problems caused by these contracts will require a significant change in the law.

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