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.


CPD: supporting transgender people in work

In the second article in her two-part series, Dawn Wyvern looks at practical ways employers, with the help of occupational...

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

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Personnel Today’s fastest growing email newsletter focuses on all aspects of diversity and inclusion.
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With same-sex relationships considered a criminal offence in 70 countries, employers need to exercise their duty of care towards LGBTQ+ staff who travel abroad.

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Seven in 10 LGBT staff sexually harassed at work

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Employers need to break recruitment traditions to boost diversity

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Businesses need to “think outside the box” when recruiting if they want to improve diversity across their workforces – especially...

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

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