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Sexual Orientation

Sexual Orientation

SKU: 11.18
  • Advice

    Sexual Orientation is one of the characteristics covered by the Equality Act. The Act makes clear that discrimination because of someone’s sexual orientation is unlawful. You therefore cannot be discriminated against on the basis that you are heterosexual, a lesbian, gay or bisexual. This is different to Gender Reassignment which can relate to sexuality but does not have to. 


    What does Discrimination Look Like?

    Direct Discrimination occurs when someone is treated worse than a person in a similar situation due to their sexual orientation. An example of this might be a man referring to his boyfriend while at an interview and the employer in response to this, decides not to offer the job even though they are the most qualified. 

    Indirect discrimination occurs when an organisation has a policy or particular culture of working that has adverse effects on people of a different sexual orientation. Organisations are liable for indirect discrimination unless they can illustrate that there’s a good reason for its use.

    Victimisation: This is when an individual has lodged a complaint due to a workplace’s mistreatment and then is treated far worse for it. This also includes people who have helped support the lodging of a complaint.

    Harassment: This is perhaps one of the most explicit forms of discrimination. It takes place when someone is treated in such a way that makes you feel ashamed, offended or degraded. An example, of this, might be a colleague referring to a female co-worker who is married to a woman by a masculine name even though the person has made clear that they are uncomfortable with this. 


    When is Discrimination Permittable

    There are instances where different treatment regarding a protected characteristic can be justifiable. A company must have an objective justification that protects and explains the need for particular policies. If they cannot prove that their practices, policies or rules are justifiable, these policies will fall under indirect discrimination. To rely on an objective justification defence, the employer, service provider or organisation must demonstrate the validity of a policy or rule. It must be shown to be a proportionate method of achieving a legitimate goal.


    The aims must be a real, objective consideration, and not in itself discriminatory. For example, if the aim is simply to reduce the costs of the organisation and that discrimination saves more money, the aim will not be considered legitimate. The aim must have a proportionate means. For instance, does the goal outweigh the hardships incurred by discriminatory policies?. There must be no sufficient alternative measures available if this is the case. The alternatives must be near impossible to commit to or undo the work of the aim for it to count as justifiable. 


    Occupational requirement

    This is when a job is reserved for someone within a protected category group. For example, a religious leader or an LGBTQ+ charity that provides support to LGBTQ+ individuals may seek someone from that same background, other examples may be a Chinese restaurant seeking Chinese staffand so on.


    Positive Action

    Positive Action is a set of steps a workplace takes place to combat the lack of diversity within a company. This is done to encourage people who have a protected characteristic to apply for particular jobs.

    This is done because: 

    • Those with a protected characteristic might have a different need;
    • Are disadvantaged in some form; or
    • Have a record of low participation and involvement. 


    Practices might be adopted to break barriers that might have stopped people with a protected characteristic from entering a particular industry.

    Several organisations provide advisory support as you go through the complaints process.

    • Galop works to support LGBT+ people who are victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, hate crime, so-called conversion therapies, honour-based abuse, forced marriage, and other forms of abuse.
    • IMAAN is a peer support group for those who identify within the LGBTQ+ community and are Muslim.
    • REGARD is a national organisation for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and queer people who self-identify as disabled. They work to dismantle the barriers that stop equality and inclusion. 
    • Stonewall campaigns for change and equality for those who are LGBTQ+.


    How we can help

    To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link. 


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