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.

Tribunal watch: Docker wins £45,000 for sexual orientation harassment

19 May 2014

A Belfast dock worker who was dismissed after reacting to homophobic abuse has been awarded more than £45,000. Stephen Simpson...

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Employment tribunals: 15 unusual forms of harassment

8 Apr 2014

Harassment is traditionally thought of as a man’s unwanted actions towards a woman, or comments that are offensive to a...

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Gay barrister who found homophopic comments in case file wins discrimination case

10 Feb 2012

A gay barrister who found references to his “batty boy mate” in a case file has had his claim of...

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Tribunal awards: which discrimination cases attract the biggest payouts?

12 Sep 2011

While the latest Employment Tribunal Service statistics show that the average tribunal awards for age discrimination claims nearly tripled in...

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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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Christian counsellor sacked for refusing to work with gay couples may be granted right to appeal

15 Apr 2010

The Court of Appeal will today consider whether a Christian counsellor sacked after he refused to work with gay couples...

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Equality Bill: Top 10 issues employers must prepare for

7 Apr 2010

The Equality Bill passed its final stage in parliament last night and is set to become law from this October....

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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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Homophobia: Out with homophobia in the workplace

4 Feb 2010

Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation may be against the law, but many 'out' employees continue to experience homophobia in the workplace. Sophie Hudson investigates.

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Discrimination law opt-out on employing homosexuals to go

24 Nov 2009

Religious employers are likely to lose the opt-out that enables them to refuse to employ homosexual employees, as the European...

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Lesbian couple awarded more than £22,000 for discrimination and unfair dismissal

9 Jul 2009

A lesbian couple who were “humiliated” by sexual jokes at work have won more than £22,000 in compensation. Saleswomen Beth...

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‘Dual discrimination’ clause proposed for Equality Bill

1 Jul 2009

The government has proposed a new law to protect people who experience discrimination because of a combination of two characteristics,...

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Gay rights vs religious ones under the Equality Bill

1 Jul 2009

It looks as if religious bodies will have very few options when it comes to refusing to employ gay men and women in non-core roles. Ross Bentley looks at how this clash of ideologies will play out.

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Christian suspended for airing views on homosexuality

22 Apr 2009

Charity worker David Booker faces an internal investigation today after he was suspended from his job at a Christian hostel...

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Microsoft sued by games designer over alleged homophobic taunts

25 Mar 2009

A video games designer is to sue Microsoft for £45,000 after allegedly suffering homophobic taunts.Jamie Durrant, who designs Xbox 360...

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