Protected Characteristics

The Equality Act 2010 sets out the protected characteristics (PC)  that are protected by the law and the behaviour that is unlawful.  Under the Act people are not allowed to discriminate, harass or victimise another person because they have any of the PC’s or where they are associated with someone who has a PC.

Under the Act the following people have a responsibility for themselves and anyone they associate with to abide by these laws:

  • Government departments
  • Service providers
  • Employers
  • Education providers (Schools, Colleges & Universities)
  • Providers of public functions
  • Associations and membership bodies
  • Transport providers

Protected Characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Sexuality
  • Religious Beliefs
  • Race
  • Pregnancy and Maternity

Forms of discrimination

Direct – Treating someone with a PC less favourably that others

Indirect – Rules or arrangements in place that put someone at a disadvantage

Harassment – Unwanted behaviour linked with a PC that violates their dignity or creates an offensive environment

Victimisation – Treating someone unfairly because they’ve complained about discrimination or harassment


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