Note that these laws extend far beyond work. They are presented here in a work or organisational context but the laws apply anywhere.
It is against the law to discriminate against any person due to his/her:
- Age (also referred to as 'ageism')
- Gender/sexuality/sexual orientation (for example a male, female or transexual, or transitioning)
- Marital status (married, single or in a civil partnership)
- Pregnancy (or having/expecting/wanting a child)
- Disability (physical or mental)
- Race (colour [US color], nationality, ethnicity, national origin)
- Religion (belief, atheism [lack of religion/belief], spiritual preferences)
These aspects of human diversity are called (in UK law) 'protected characteristics'.
Equality law protects people from discrimination against such characteristics when/in/seeking:
- As a consumer
- Member/guest of private club/association
- Using public services
- Buying/renting property
- With/helping someone of protected characteristic (for example, family member/friend, or you've complained about discrimination, or supported another person's claim - this is called in law 'positive action', which is judged to be legal where a person of a protected characteristic has particular needs, is disadvantaged and under-represented)