Under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful to discriminate against workers because of sexual orientation.
Sexual orientation is defined as:
- orientation towards people of the same sex (lesbians and gay men)
- orientation towards people of the opposite sex (heterosexual)
- orientation towards people of the same sex and the opposite sex (bisexual)
All aspects of employment are covered, including recruitment, terms and conditions, promotions, transfers, training and dismissals. There are 4 types of discrimination:
- direct discrimination - treating someone less favourably than others because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation
- indirect discrimination - where your employer applies a criterion, provision or practice which disadvantages people of a particular sexual orientation, unless it can be objectively justified
- harassment - unwanted conduct that violates a person's dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment
- victimisation - victimising someone because they have made or intend to make a compliant or allegation in relation to a complaint of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation
If you feel you have been discriminated against, you should talk to your employer as soon as possible. You can discuss your concerns informally, or you may wish to raise a formal grievance using your employer’s grievance procedure.
Contact us for further information about sexual orientation discrimination.