Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation discrimination legislation has been in place in the UK since 2003. Sexual orientation is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The law is primarily designed to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees and job applicants against direct and indirect sexual orientation discrimination, and harassment and victimisation because of someone's sexual orientation.

However, it is well-established in UK case law that a heterosexual individual can also be subjected to sexual orientation discrimination. For example, this could occur where a homophobic taunt is used towards an individual whom the perpetrator knows is not actually gay (English v Thomas Sanderson Blinds Ltd).

“Gender reassignment” is a separate protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. This means that transgender individuals are also protected against discrimination in the workplace.


When employees' religious beliefs clash with gay customers' rights: five key cases

When employees’ religious beliefs clash with gay customers’ rights: five key cases

This week, the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal was expected to hear the high-profile case of a bakery accused of...

HMRC scooped the award for diversity and inclusion in 2015.

Personnel Today Awards 2015: HMRC shines in Diversity and Inclusion

3 Dec 2015

HMRC impressed the judges and received the Award for Diversity and Inclusion at the Personnel Today Awards 2015. Here we...

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Tribunal watch: Unfair dismissal for smelling of alcohol at work

8 Jun 2015

An employment tribunal has held that an NHS worker was unfairly dismissed after a colleague reported him for smelling of...

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GE Capital win Diversity and Inclusion Award

Personnel Today Awards 2014 winners: GE Capital receive diversity award

10 Dec 2014

By improving gender diversity in a male-dominated sector, GE Capital were worthy winners of the Award for Diversity and Inclusion,...

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Homophobia

Tribunal watch: Gay man greeted with “hello darling” and limp wrist gesture

14 Apr 2014

An employment tribunal ordered an employer to pay £2,000 after finding that a manager’s comments about the claimant’s sexuality, including...

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Court of Appeal finds B&B’s refusal to accommodate gay couple to be unlawful

9 Oct 2013

In DLA Piper’s case of the week, the Court of Appeal upheld a decision that a B&B owner’s refusal to...

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Legal opinion: Sexual orientation harassment in the workplace

2 Sep 2011

Two recent cases have thrown up some interesting issues in relation to sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, including whether...

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Weekly dilemma: Romantic relationships at work

30 Mar 2011

It has come to my attention that two of my employees may be having a romantic relationship. What should I...

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Equality Act 2010: Guidance and advice for employers and HR

22 Sep 2010

Most of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010 and employers need to make sure they...

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Government confirms 1 October implementation of Equality Act

22 Sep 2010

The Government yesterday confirmed that the main provisions of the Equality Act 2010 will come into force on 1 October...

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Equality Act: positive action and changes to discrimination law

10 Jun 2010

The Equality Act aims to let employers use positive action to boost workforce diversity. Daniel Thomas examines that and other...

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Former archbishop attacks courts over gay counselling ruling

30 Apr 2010

The former archbishop of Canterbury has attacked a court ruling which held a Christian counsellor was fairly sacked from his...

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Christian counsellor sacked after refusing to work with gay couples denied appeal

29 Apr 2010

A Christian counsellor who was sacked after he refused to work with gay couples has been refused permission to appeal....

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Equality Act 2010: six updates for your equal opportunities policy

10 Mar 2010

For a limited time only, Personnel Today Plus members can access a full model policy on equal opportunities which takes...

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Discrimination ruling wins gay pub worker thousands in compensation

25 Feb 2010

A former employee has won thousands of pounds in compensation after a tribunal found owners tried to “de-gay” the pub...

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