The HR guide to understanding discrimination claims in the workplace

Who is protected from discrimination?

The Equality Act affords protection to a wide range of individuals, including employees (both current and former), contract workers, agency workers and vocational trainers. The protection also extends to job applicants and prospective job applicants who will be able to bring a claim against employers for discrimination without the need for two years’ service, unlike claims for unfair dismissal.

What are they protected from?

The legislation prohibits any discrimination owing to, or as a result of, a protected characteristic.

What are the protected characteristics?



Gender reassignment

Marriage and civil partnership

Pregnancy and maternity




Sexual harassment

Sexual orientation

A parliamentary committee recently made recommendations to include ‘menopause’ as a protected characteristic. However, the government has since confirmed that it will not be added to the list.

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