What are the 9 Protected Characteristics?

What are the 9 Protected Characteristics?


Posted by Jan Lawrence

Share with a colleague

Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on LinedIn Share on Twitter Share by email

 

“If people are informed they will do the right thing.  It’s when they are not informed that they become hostages to prejudice.”
Charlayne Hunter-Gault

 

Employee tribunal claims can be both costly and detrimental to an organisation’s reputation.  The maximum award in the financial year 2014/15 was for a sex discrimination case with £557,039 being awarded to the claimant.  Cases such as this illustrate not only the personal trauma discrimination causes but also the financial implications which may result.  The importance placed on all employees, in particular those with team  leader and management responsibilities, having an awareness of equality and diversity matters cannot be stressed highly enough.

 

Equality and Diversity – What does it mean?

Equality is about treating people fairly and providing equal access to jobs, opportunities, benefits and services.
Diversity is about difference and the wide range of differences which exist between us.  It’s about understanding that each individual is unique and the need to recognise, respect, embrace and value those individual differences.

 

What considerations are required in the workplace?

In 2010, the Equality Act was introduced which all employers have to be aware of, and comply with.  However, managers and employees also need to understand their role in ensuring equality and dignity inside and outside the workplace as a lesser known fact is that they can be held personally liable for their own discriminatory acts.  Their role in ensuring equality and dignity at work is therefore paramount.  Training in Equality and Diversity is necessary to ensure that everyone in the workplace is aware that their language and behaviour should be based on dignity and respect for every individual and ensure that they are not demeaning on any grounds, including the 9 protected characteristics.

 

What are the 9 Protected characteristics?

The 9 protected characteristics are defined in the Equality Act 2010, which states that individuals and groups should not be discriminated against on the basis of these characteristics. The Equality  Act protects everyone from discrimination as we all have some of these characteristics.

They are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief (including lack of belief)
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
It is also possible for cases to arise because of discrimination by association or perception.  This means that an individual doesn’t have to have a protected characteristic to be protected, but is treated less favourably because of their close connection or strong association with someone who has a protected characteristic (e.g. a family member), or because someone thinks they have a protected characteristic, but they don’t.

 

How can In Equilibrium help?

In Equilibrium’s course “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion” is suitable for both managers and employees.  It helps to increase understanding, raise awareness and build confidence about diversity issues in the workplace as two recent participants’ comments illustrate,

“It was a very eye-opening course and made me realise how many things go on that I haven’t noticed before”
and
“Nervousness transformed into confidence”

For an informal discussion about your Equality and Diversity training requirements, please click on the red box below and enter your details:

Ask for further details here

 

Our thanks to Eve Winston for her help with this blog article.

Tagged:,
Hints & Tips

Hints & Tips

We have a wide range of handy hints and tips for managing stress, developing resilience.

Resources for Managers

Resources for Managers

A selection of resources designed with the role of the manager in mind.

Customer Comments

Customer Comments

See our customers' comments after attending our training courses.

Share with a colleague

Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share by email