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.

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...

Continue Reading

Equality Act 2010: Guidance and advice for employers and HR

22 Sep 2010

Most of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010 and employers need to make sure they...

Continue Reading

Government confirms 1 October implementation of Equality Act

22 Sep 2010

The Government yesterday confirmed that the main provisions of the Equality Act 2010 will come into force on 1 October...

Continue Reading

Equality Act: positive action and changes to discrimination law

10 Jun 2010

The Equality Act aims to let employers use positive action to boost workforce diversity. Daniel Thomas examines that and other...

Continue Reading

Former archbishop attacks courts over gay counselling ruling

30 Apr 2010

The former archbishop of Canterbury has attacked a court ruling which held a Christian counsellor was fairly sacked from his...

Continue Reading

Christian counsellor sacked after refusing to work with gay couples denied appeal

29 Apr 2010

A Christian counsellor who was sacked after he refused to work with gay couples has been refused permission to appeal....

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

Discrimination ruling wins gay pub worker thousands in compensation

25 Feb 2010

A former employee has won thousands of pounds in compensation after a tribunal found owners tried to “de-gay” the pub...

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Pope attacks Equality Bill’s stand on gay and transsexual employment rights

2 Feb 2010

The Pope has attacked the UK’s equality legislation Ð thought to include the government’s new Equality Bill Ð ahead of...

Continue Reading

Lords reject Equality Bill amendments on employment rights for gay and transsexual people

26 Jan 2010

The government has been defeated for the third time over provisions in the Equality Bill, which the churches claim would...

Continue Reading

Case of the week McFarlane v Relate Avon Ltd

4 Jan 2010

FACTSGary McFarlane joined Relate Avon, which provides relationship counselling services, in 2003. He was required to, and did, sign up...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

Lesbian police officer sues British Transport Police for sex discrimination

29 Oct 2009

A lesbian police officer is suing the British Transport Police for sexual discrimination, claiming she was banned from working on...

Continue Reading

Police chief’s son apologises for calling all WPCs ‘dykes’

19 Oct 2009

A chief constable’s son has embarrassed his father by displaying offensive placards at a police training event. Jack McPherson, 17,...

Continue Reading