How am I protected against sex discrimination?

The sex discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010 make it unlawful for employers to treat workers less favourably than others on account of sex, sexual orientation, transgender or marital status. Workers are protected at all stages of employment, including recruitment and dismissal, against both direct discrimination and indirect discrimination.

There are also special laws in the Equality Act protecting you from unfavourable treatment while you are pregnant or on maternity leave.

There are some exceptions called 'Genuine Occupational Requirements', where having (or not having) a protected characteristic is an essential requirement for a particular job. This exception is very narrowly interpreted. An example might be an acting role that must be performed by someone of a particular sex or race.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.