The Equality Act came into law in 2010 by the UK government protecting people from discrimination, harassment and victimisation within the workplace and in wider society.
Under the Equality Act, there are nine characteristics protecting everyone in Britain against discrimination:
What is discrimination?
Discrimination is the act of treating a person unfairly because of who they are or because they possess certain characteristics, as seen above. But four key types are defined in UK law:
Under the terms of the Act, you are protected from discrimination in these situations/environments:
Equality in the workplace legislation
The Act protects you against any discrimination within the workplace at all stages of employment. This includes, recruitment, pay, working hours, training, promotions, dismissal or redundancy.
During your recruitment process, it is against the law for an employer or interviewer to ask you questions about your protected characteristics. This means you cannot be asked questions about health, sex, religion, marital status or disabilities, unless it is a mandatory pre-requirement of the job.
Employees and employers should be aware of what the Equality Act 2010 means in practice and how it applies within the workplace.
Duties of your employer
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that discrimination does not occur within the business. It is their duty to not discriminate on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics included within the legislation, whether that’s regarding salary, gender, ethnic background or religion. If in any doubt, always consult the government’s guidelines or your HR department.
It's important to know your rights in the workplace especially when it comes to mental health. Everyone should feel safe and supported to talk about their mental health at work. Remember if you have any mental health issues, it’s important to talk to your employer so they know how best to support you.
Mental health problems affect one in four of us, but many feel isolated, ashamed and worthless. Time to Talk Day encourages everyone to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives. If you need support, visit time to change.
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