Discrimination may be direct or indirect and it may occur intentionally or unintentionally.
Direct discrimination occurs where someone is treated less favourably because of one or more of the protected characteristics. For example, rejecting an applicant for a staff vacancy on the grounds of their sexual orientation because they would not “fit in with the team” would be direct discrimination.
Indirect discrimination occurs where someone is disadvantaged by an unjustifiable provision, criterion or practice that also puts other people with the same protected characteristics at a particular disadvantage. For example, a requirement to work full- time puts women at a particular disadvantage because they generally have greater childcare commitments than men. Such a requirement will need to be objectively justified.
There are three types of harassment:
- Unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the complainant, or violating the complainant’s dignity (General Harassment).
- Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (Sexual Harassment).
- Treating a person less favourably than another person because they have either submitted to, or did not submit to, sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment (rejection of or submission to conduct of a sexual nature).
Victimisation occurs where a person treats another less favourably because he or she has asserted their legal rights in line with the Equality Act 2010 or helped someone else to do so.