The equal treatment of all people was originally contained within a number of different acts.
Since October 2010 these were consolidated and harmonised into the Equality Act 2010. This act defined equality as “the condition of possessing the same rights, privileges and immunities, whilst being liable to the same duties”.
This act therefore specifically protects certain characteristics such as someone’s age, disability or race. However it is important to recognise that these characteristics are fluid, allowing everyone’s self-identification to be protected even if this is not expressly stated within the act.
All employees are entitled to equal treatment in the work place. This includes;
- Reasonable adjustments – Includes any adjustments that need to be made to cater for a person’s disability.
- Equal opportunities – All employees should be given the same opportunities to progress themselves and their career.
- Equal pay – This will mean that pay reviews will be based on a person’s performance only and not the protected characteristics or their relationship with the assessor.
- Fair treatment – ensures that all employees are treated equally and not discriminated against or bullied.
Types of Discrimination
Discrimination is defined as unjust and prejudicial treatment of a person focusing around the protected characteristics. The main two types of discrimination are;
- Direct discrimination – Less favourable treatment because of a protected characteristic.
- Indirect discrimination – When a policy, practice or rule is applied to everyone in the same way, but puts someone with a protected characteristic at a ‘particular disadvantage’ without a good reason for it.
Unfortunately, sometimes a person may find themselves in a situation where they are not being treated equally. In these circumstances:
- Speak to your manager or any member of the management team that you feel comfortable approaching.
- Review your employee handbook and the policies as this may include information about how to raise any issues you are having with a colleague or manager.
- Remember that your employer has a responsibility to protect its employees from discrimination.