An organisation must not treat one person less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic.
For example, if an employer decides not to promote the most suitable candidate to the next management tier because it prefers not to have any more female staff at that level, then this is direct discrimination because of sex.
The protected characteristic age is dealt with differently in that an employer can show that it is objectively justified to make a decision based on a person’s age, even if this would otherwise be direct discrimination. In practice it is very difficult to objectively justify direct age discrimination.
Businesses must ensure that behaviour does not amount to other forms of discrimination, namely:
- associative discrimination
- perceptive discrimination
- indirect discrimination
- disability discrimination
- a failure to make reasonable adjustments
For information about the protected characteristics and business best practice, return to the discrimination page.
Contact us about promoting equality in the workplace, or if you have suffered discrimination.
For other legal topics go to the law library.