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.


One in four LGBT staff hiding their gender identity or sexual orientation

One in four LGBT employees in the UK remain “in the closet” at work, while many more are not fully...

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Diversity & Inclusion: Sign up to our free e-newsletter now

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Personnel Today is launching a new email newsletter for 2020, focusing on all aspects of diversity and inclusion.
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Newcastle City Council has been named the most inclusive employer by LGBT+ charity Stonewall.
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Stonewall has published its inaugural list of the most transgender inclusive employers in the UK with three law firms, three...

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

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

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Personnel Today Awards 2015: HMRC shines in Diversity and Inclusion

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