Sexual orientation discrimination

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.


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The case involving a Northern Irish bakery that refused to make a cake with a message supporting gay marriage will...

Driver suspended after refusing to drive bus with rainbow-coloured number

14 Aug 2019

A bus driver has been suspended after reportedly refusing to drive a bus decorated with the rainbow-coloured LGBT pride flag....

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Seven in 10 LGBT staff sexually harassed at work

17 May 2019

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff are facing “shockingly high” levels of sexual harassment and assault, but almost two-thirds...

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Prison officer was unfairly dismissed after revealing sexuality

15 Feb 2019

A prison officer who was subject to verbal and physical abuse over his sexual orientation was unfairly dismissed, an employment...

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Pinsent Masons staff

Law firm tops LGBT-inclusive employer rankings

21 Jan 2019

International legal giant Pinsent Masons has been named the most inclusive employer in the UK by LGBT equality charity Stonewall...

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The 10 most important employment law cases in 2018

11 Jan 2019

As always, HR professionals had their fair share of employment law cases to keep track of in 2018, but what...

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What employers need to know following the ‘gay cake’ ruling

18 Oct 2018

It is the case which has captivated the nation almost as much as the Great British Bake-Off. Tom Long looks...

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Women subjected to ‘predatory’ behaviour by MPs

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Women working at the House of Commons were subjected to “predatory” contact and treated like “personal servants” by MPs, an...

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Bakery in ‘gay cake’ case wins Supreme Court appeal

10 Oct 2018

The Christian owners of the Northern Irish bakery in the ‘gay cake’ case have won their appeal at the Supreme...

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10 ways of improving employee inclusion at your organisation

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Inclusion is essential for high performance but too many organisations only pay it lip service, writes Lee Russell of learning...

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Trump cap firing puts workplace policies in the spotlight

12 Jul 2018

As protests greet Donald Trump’s arrival in the UK, Michael Hibbs looks at the recent news from Canada, where a...

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Supporting transgender employees: the importance of line management

27 May 2018

Recent research has highlighted that line management is a critical function when it comes to supporting trans employees, as Rosa...

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Third of LGBT employees hide their sexual orientation at work

30 Apr 2018

Gay, bisexual and trans campaign group Stonewall last week called on employers to develop zero-tolerance policies on discrimination against employees...

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Discrimination costs the UK £127bn a year, claims study

26 Feb 2018

Discriminatory pay practices costs the UK economy £127bn in lost output every year, according to diversity and inclusion champion INvolve...

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Six ways to be more inclusive of transgender people in the workplace

11 Oct 2017

HR has a key role in preventing discrimination against transgender people. Jennie Kermode, author of a new book on transgender...

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