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.


lgbtq business travel

Business travel: how to protect LGBTQ+ staff

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.

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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Equality and inclusion winners celebrate at the enei 2018 Awards

10 Jul 2018

Croydon Council and ISS UK and Ireland received the overall winner prizes for their inclusion policies at this evening’s 2018...

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Employers need to break recruitment traditions to boost diversity

20 Jun 2018

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

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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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Stonewall publishes first trans-inclusive employers list

31 Jan 2018

Stonewall has published its inaugural list of the most transgender inclusive employers in the UK with three law firms, three...

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

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

3 Feb 2016

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

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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alcohol-at-work

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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