What Is A Protected Characteristic?


What is meant by protected characteristics?

What does it mean to have a protected characteristic? – Having a protected characteristic means you have a right not to be treated less favourably, or subjected to an unfair disadvantage, by reason of that characteristic, for example, because of your age, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.

What are the protected characteristics evidence?

There are nine protected characteristics covered within the Equality Act 2010: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, and marriage or civil partnership.

What are the protected characteristics of PLC?

Practical Law UK Glossary 7-503-3775 (Approx.3 pages) – Glossary Related Content The Equality Act 2010 is concerned with discrimination and harassment in respect of nine protected characteristics: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.

Discrimination – Employment Equality

Resource ID 7-503-3775 © 2023 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Maintained Resource Type Glossary Jurisdictions


Related Content

What are the protected characteristics of GDPR?

The general duty covers the following protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Which is not a protected characteristic?

Class as a protected characteristic? – 12 King’s Bench Walk First published in ELA briefing, March 2022 The social, economic and cultural effects of the pandemic are likely to cast a long shadow into the future, exacerbating existing inequalities and creating new ones.

One impact is that social inequality is set to rise. Could social class be protected under the Equality Act 2010, and what would it mean for employees and employers ? ‘A prohibition on class discrimination would assist in making the invisible, visible’ (Professor Geraldine Van Bueren QC, ‘Inclusivity and the Law: Do we need to prohibit class discrimination?’) In the UK, it is lawful for an employer to turn down a job applicant, or offer lesser terms and less money, on the basis that they are working class.

Under the Equality Act 2010, social class is not a protected characteristic – it does not share the protection of race, sex, religion or any other of the nine protected characteristics. The UK has a problem with social inequality in the workplace. Only 39% of people in professional jobs are from working class heritage.

And working-class people earn less – £6,000 in 2019 – than middle classes in the same professional jobs. Two years ago, the TUC called for social class to become the 10th protected characteristic under the Equality Act. Since then, no change has been made. But with the Social Mobility Commission’s Report 2021 projecting that social inequality is set to worsen in the wake of the pandemic, the prospect of a legal solution is ripening.

Cyprus and India are among other jurisdictions that have introduced a prohibition against class discrimination in their constitutions. However, such discrimination remains lawful in the UK, and in the vast majority of other jurisdictions and countries across the world.

  • A contested concept: how could social class be defined? In Grainger, the EAT held that a belief in man-made climate change and the alleged moral imperatives, was capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief.
  • As demonstrated by Grainger, the courts have provided legal frameworks for concepts tending to escape definition; however, the more nebulous aspects of social class remain hard to formulate into working criteria.

Nevertheless, a basic definition that protects those who come from socioeconomically disadvantaged heritage is possible. Since 2018, Scottish public bodies making strategic decisions have been under a legal obligation to consider how to reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socioeconomic disadvantage (the ‘Fairer Scotland Duty’, under Part 1 of the Equality Act).

  1. Similarly, the socioeconomic duty came into force in Wales on 30 March 2021.
  2. The position remains that England has not enacted the power to put in place a public sector duty regarding socioeconomic inequalities, whereas both Scotland and Wales have done so.
  3. While this would not actually prohibit discrimination on socioeconomic grounds, the introduction of this duty was seen as a potential first step towards addressing class discrimination.

In respect of that socioeconomic duty, socioeconomic disadvantage is treated as low income, low wealth, material deprivation and area deprivation. Those are measurable categories and could form the starting point for protecting social class under the Equality Act.

  1. Another common approach is by measuring class origins by the occupations of our parents when we were teenagers.
  2. Could a working-class but wealthy individual be protected too? In Taylor, the protected characteristic of gender reassignment was held to be ‘a spectrum’, with individuals along that spectrum coming under its protection.

Likewise, individuals who were socioeconomically disadvantaged but are no longer so could also qualify for protection. This approach could enable the legislation to encompass facets of class that make an individual vulnerable to discrimination, but which don’t bear a direct correlation to financial means.

A definition, as above, that is premised on socioeconomic disadvantage alone would not protect a person from discrimination based on social privilege. The applicant turned down for sounding ‘too posh’ would still be without a remedy. In other words, to restrict a definition to socioeconomic disadvantage may be too narrow.

To extend protection to all kinds of social class, the characteristic would need to be framed more broadly – perhaps ‘any trait that is commonly associated with either socioeconomic advantage or disadvantage’. Admittedly this is hazardously vague and would require judges to fill in major definitional gaps in order to guard the floodgates.

Professor Geraldine Van Bueren QC argues that another added value in prohibiting class discrimination is that it would achieve a change in culture so that insulting terms such as ‘chav’, ‘toff’ and more indirectly, ‘bog-standard comprehensive’ and ‘Essex girl’ in England, would no longer be acceptable.

The fact remains that defining class for the purposes of the Equality Act is a hurdle – but not an insurmountable one. What would it mean for employers? If class were made a protected characteristic, employers would have to look particularly carefully at their recruitment criteria.

  1. Requiring unpaid internships could indirectly discriminate against underprivileged candidates.
  2. Employers targeting university graduates at careers fairs may need to equally engage Russell group and non-Russell group universities.
  3. Certain qualities in job descriptions that are implicitly associated with privilege (‘gravitas’, ‘polish’) would need to be removed.
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However, many employers have already gone some way to addressing social inequality in the workplace. This is also apparent in the widespread introduction of unconscious bias training, objective assessment criteria, and the increasingly common practice of removing school and university names from CVs.

  • Exhaustive anti-bullying policies should prohibit discrimination in all its forms, including social class.
  • In other words, employers who are already actively committed to improving diversity may find that a change in the law won’t entail making many changes of their own.
  • The Social Mobility Commission has published a toolkit to encourage socioeconomic diversity and inclusion in the creative industries.

Further, KPMG has recently set a target for the proportion of working-class staff and other major companies are likely to follow. What would it mean for employees? Some job applicants or employees may be reluctant to share information regarding, for example, their parents’ jobs or where they grew up.

However, if questionnaires are anonymised and explain the purpose of the information gathering exercise and how it will be used, that should minimise the barriers to gathering data. Tackling social class inequality is ultimately likely to strengthen existing prohibitions of other types of discrimination and diversity strategies.

Conclusion The perceived challenge of defining social class and perhaps a reluctance to define who we are and where we come from have both to date contributed to the absence of protection in law from discrimination based on class. The courts have not yet read into existing law a prohibition on class discrimination.

What is not a protected class?

Who is not protected? – Any groups not included in the list above are not members of a protected class. They may still have protection against workplace injustices, but they will not receive the same direct protection that members of protected classes get. For example, none of the following traits are specifically federally-protected classes:

Education Level Undocumented Immigrants Criminal Record Political Party

However, just because you are not a member of a federally-protected class does not mean you do not have enhanced protection under state laws. Some states offer extra protection based on sexual orientation, political ideology, and other traits.

What is an example of a protected class?

Protected class is defined by federal law/executive order, federal agencies, or Ohio State policy. The protected classes include: age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or any other bases under the law.

  • These definitions are for reference only, as people seek to understand what the protected classes are and how they relate to discrimination and harassment.
  • When conduct is reported to the Office of Institution Equity it will be assessed on an individualized basis.
  • Age : For purposes of these policies, age in the employment context means a person over the age of 40.

Ancestry : A person’s caste, country, nation, tribe, or other identifiable group of people from which a person descends. It can also refer to common physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics of an individual’s ancestors. Color : Pigmentation, complexion, skin shade or tone.

Disability : A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual or a record of such impairment or being regarded as having such an impairment. The impairment can be a disability even if episodic or in remission. Examples of a major life activity that may be substantially limited may include but is not limited to walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning, or operation of a major bodily/mental function.

For more information, visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/disability-discrimination Ethnicity : Shared attributes of a group people who identify with each other that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, religion, or social treatment within their residing area.

Gender/Gender Identity or Expression : Gender is the identity and expression of socially constructed characteristics often associated with men and women. Gender is on a spectrum, so there are other gender options than man and woman, such as agender, bigender, genderfluid, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, non-binary, questioning/unsure, trans man, trans woman, and two spirit.

Gender identity is who a person knows themself to be and how they identify. Gender expression is how a person presents gender to other people; it is outward-facing and how they present themself to others/how others perceive them based on gender norms.

  • Genetic information : Genetic information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual’s family members (i.e.
  • Family medical history).
  • For more information, visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/genetic-information-discrimination HIV/AIDS status : Having or being perceived to have human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Military Status: Any person who has past, current, or future membership, service, or obligation in a uniformed service. National origin : being from or perceived as from a particular country or part of the world. National origin also includes accent and language.

For more information, visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/eeoc-enforcement-guidance-national-origin-discrimination Pregnancy : a person containing a developing embryo, fetus, or unborn offspring in the body. Pregnancy also includes childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, lactation, and related conditions as well as the recovery therefrom.

Protected Veteran Status : As defined under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA), someone who served in active military, discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable, and meet one of the four groups: disabled veteran, recently separated veteran, active duty wartime or campaign bade veteran, and Armed Forces service medal veteran.

  • For more information, visit: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ofccp/posters/Infographics/files/ProtectedVet-2016-11x17_ENGESQA508c.pdf Race : physical characteristics associated with people regarded of the same ancestry (e.g.
  • Hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features).
  • Religion : sincerely held religious (a system of faith or worship) beliefs or lack thereof, which may include particular clothing, holiday/prayer observation, or personal attributes based upon religion (e.g.

tattoos, piercings, facial hair). Examples of religion include but are not limited to: Agnosticism, Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Sex : biological makeup, including genitalia, genetic differences, and sex characteristics.

Typically, sex includes male, female, and intersex. Under the laws of discrimination and harassment, the phrase “because of sex” also includes gender or sexual orientation (see other terms). Sexual orientation : a person’s physical, romantic, sexual, and/or emotional attraction to others or lack thereof.

Sexual orientation may include but is not limited to: gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual. To view the Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct policy, please visit go.osu.edu/non-discrimination-policy Note: Some situations could involve behavior based on multiple protected classes.

Experiences of antisemitism could fall within protected classes such as religion, ethnicity, or national origin. Ohio State has adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism in accordance with Executive Order 2022-06D : “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” Experiences of ablism could touch on disability, age, or veteran status. Experiences of transphobia could fall within sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and/or expression, depending on the specific conduct.

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How many protected characteristics are covered?

This is because the Equality Act protects people against discrimination because of the protected characteristics that we all have. Under the Equality Act, there are nine protected characteristics: age.

What are the four main types of discrimination?

How Many Types Of Discrimination Are There? – There are four main types of discrimination: Direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

What does protected status mean?

Protected Status means an individual’s sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, pregnancy status, and any other legally protected characteristic.

What are the 4 main components of a PLC education?

What are the major components of a PLC project? The components of a PLC project are: 1) focus on students, 2) team collaboration, 3) collective inquiry, 4) action orientation, 5) continuous improvement, 6) results.

What are the 7 steps of the PLC process?

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I love to reflect on PDs and experiences I have as a way to set goals for myself and share the knowledge I learn. I recently went to a PD by Solution Tree with Brig Leane and I want to take some time to write for this purpose.

I have been to other PDs by Solution Tree and have also been working with Kelly Harmon, and when she explained Marzano’s belief that every learner asks themselves four questionshow do I feel, am I interested, is this important, and can I do this, I realized why I am so invested in every Solution Tree PD I’ve been to.

It is because going into the learning I feel excited because it’s always engaging, I am interested because it’s always relevant, it is important because it is always meaningful to my work with teachers and students, and I can do it because Solution Tree has practices to ensure we walk away with tangible things we can act on.

    The first idea I will implement is a simple one, but was so effective. Brig had us take a small section of our notes and write “Next Steps.” Periodically, he directed us to write in it and then pair up with a partner to share. Intentionally setting goals like this is something I plan to put into my own PDs and something I want to bring to teachers to do in the classroom with their own notes. What Is A Protected Characteristic Brig explained the 7 steps of the PLC Process: Define essentials, create SMART goals, use common formative assessments, engage in inter-rater reliability (co-grading), be transparent of results, create extension and intervention plans, and make changes to instruction.

    1. I think many PLCs within my district are becoming more proficient at defining essentials, creating goals, and using formative assessments, but I want to help improve the practice of taking results and enacting intervention/extension plans.
    2. Furthermore, I want to help instill a culture of anticipating these plans to be proactive not reactive.

    By helping teachers in a PLC to discover what worked and what didn’t we will break the sequence of just continuing to teach despite lost learners, and instead create a cycle of reflection, intervention, and changes to instruction. He also shared a Data Analysis Protocol that I plan to share with my PLC and campus teams as an effective way to analyze common assessments and move forward into intervention and enrichment ideas. What Is A Protected Characteristic

Brig also shared some steps for PLCs just starting out. They include forming a guiding coalition, determine collaborative teams and set norms, start small and identify 1-2 essentials, create a shared vision, make time for common planning time, create intervention/extension time, read together, write clear targets with in class tracking, and finally create team products.

The Lineup: I posted about this on my teaching IG, @taplinsteaching. Read and see directions here. Vocabulary Strategy: When students turn their test in, ask them to circle any word that is unclear. This is such great formative feedback for teachers and students. Revising Norms: I think this one could be used with teacher teams and in the classroomWhen using norms, revisit them by asking team members to bring a norm that’s going well and one that can be improved upon.

I am looking forward to the next Solution Tree PD and the new ideas that will come out of it! Follow me on Instagram: @taplinsteaching Follow me on Twitter: @ashleyptaplin

What is not protected under GDPR?

Information which is truly anonymous is not covered by the UK GDPR. If information that seems to relate to a particular individual is inaccurate (ie it is factually incorrect or is about a different individual), the information is still personal data, as it relates to that individual.

What is not protected by GDPR?

What is an exemption? – An exemption is a use for personal data where some or all requirements or rights are changed. Some exemptions are full, i.e. don’t require the organisation to collect, store or process the data according to GDPR and data protection law at all, and some are partial, i.e.

  • the right to be informed
  • the right of access
  • reporting personal data breaches
  • following the principles

Generally, exemptions exist where there is a national or public interest that is greater than the interests of the individual. However, often the extent of the exemption can be relied on only if it would otherwise be unfeasible to uphold the rights and principles under GDPR.

What are the 7 main principles of GDPR?

Short Summary: –

  • If your company handles personal data, it’s important to understand and comply with the 7 principles of the GDPR.
  • The principles are: Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency; Purpose Limitation; Data Minimisation; Accuracy; Storage Limitations; Integrity and Confidentiality; and Accountability.
  • We take you through an example of creating an online newsletter to illustrate how each principle works.

Does everyone have a protected characteristic?

What are the 9 Protected Characteristics? Protected characteristics are aspects of a person’s identity that makes them who they are. Everyone has at least of few of the nine protected characteristics, so as an employer, it’s important you make sure an employee isn’t treated less favourably because of theirs.

Originally, there were various pieces of legislation in place that protected people from discrimination based on various characteristics of their identity – these included the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, to name just a few. However, in 2010, the Equality Act 2010 replaced these multiple pieces of legislation in an attempt to simplify the law and bring together all anti-discrimination legislation under one Act.

The Act covers an employer’s legal responsibility to protect their employees from discrimination based on nine outlined characteristics. As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to make sure you’re complying with the Equality Act all the way from recruitment to terminating an employee’s contract.

  1. Age
  2. Gender
  3. Race
  4. Disability
  5. Religion or belief
  6. Sexual orientation
  7. Gender reassignment
  8. Marriage or civil partnerships
  9. Pregnancy and maternity

As well as preventing employees from discriminating against each other, you need to make sure you’re not discriminating against an employee based on one of the above characteristics. Discrimination comes in different forms and varies from verbal slander to a company policy that puts a specific employee at a disadvantage because of their characteristic(s), both of which are examples of To make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent discrimination in your workplace, our Employment Law experts have expanded on each protected characteristic, so you have a full understanding of what the Equality Act 2010 covers.

  • Age discrimination is treating an employee less favourably because of their age and can affect other employees of a similar age.
  • Examples of age discrimination include:
  • Asking an employee during the interview process what year they graduated from university
  • Not looking to further develop an employee because of their age – if they’re close to retirement, for example
  • Stating in a job description that you’re only considering applicants from ‘young and energetic’ individuals

These are just a handful of examples of age discrimination in the workplace and for more information on how to spot it, manage it, and prevent it, read our Gender This protected characteristic aims to prevent discrimination against an employee based on their gender. Examples of gender discrimination include:

  • Not promoting a female employee because you’re not sure what their plans are for motherhood
  • Not accepting a male application for a role in beauty because you don’t think he’d fit in with a mainly female team
  • Asking a female candidate questions during an interview you wouldn’t ask a male candidate

To learn how to identify sex discrimination and how to prevent it, take a look at our Race The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals from discrimination on the grounds of their nationality or race. Some examples of race discrimination include:

  • Bullying and harassment of an employee because of their race
  • Not hiring an individual because they weren’t born in the UK
  • Insisting that all employees must have English as their first language

For more information on how to manage a race discrimination case, read our free Disability The Equality Act 2010 states that employees who have long-term mental or physical impairments that affect their day-to-day activities are protected under the protected characteristic of disability.

  1. This protected characteristic applies to individuals who have a genuine belief in a clear religious structure like Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.
  2. Some examples of discriminating against an employee’s religion include:
  • Not hiring someone because of their religion or faith
  • Questioning an employee’s belief or mocking it
  • Not inviting an employee to a social event because they don’t drink due to their religious beliefs
  • Outlining that no jewellery or religious wear can be worn during work to comply with the dress code
  • Asking all employees to work on a Sunday, which might not be possible for some employees based on their beliefs
  • Refusing annual leave for a religious holiday without a justifiable reason

Sexual orientation Sexual orientation or ‘sexuality’ refers to the gender an individual is attracted to. Different types of sexual orientation include:

  • Heterosexual/straight
  • Homosexual/gay
  • Bisexual
  • Asexual

As with the other characteristics, sexual orientation discrimination can take many forms. Examples include:

  • Refusing annual leave for a female employee to attend antenatal appointments with her pregnant partner but approving annual leave for a male employee to attend antenatal appointments
  • Refusing to hire someone because they have stated they’re gay or bisexual
  • Treating an employee less favourably because his parents are both female, otherwise known as ‘discrimination by association’

Gender reassignment Gender reassignment is changing from one gender to another, and the Equality Act (2010) states you can’t treat an employee less favourably because they are trans or are associated with someone who is. This also protects employees who have changed genders without undergoing any medical procedures.

  • As an employer, you need to identify any measures that might put a trans employee at a disadvantage and take the necessary steps to adjust them, so those employees are equally represented.
  • Marriage or civil partnerships Marriage or civil partnership discrimination is treating employee less favourably because of their marital status.

Employees who are divorced, engaged but not married yet, or just co-habiting do not fall under this protected characteristic. Some examples of marriage or civil partnership discrimination include:

  • Refusing to give a newly married female employee evening shifts because you assume she wants to be at home with her spouse in the evening
  • Not promoting an employee because you’re worried they won’t have enough time to dedicate to their role now they’re married or in a civil partnership

Pregnancy and maternity The Equality Act 2010 states that you can’t treat an employee less favourably because of their pregnancy or maternity status. This applies from the beginning of the pregnancy up to when the employee returns from maternity leave and a few examples of this discrimination include:

  • Authorising just one 30-minute break for all employees and punishing a pregnant employee because they are fatigued and need extra time
  • Disciplining an employee due to a pregnancy-related sickness absence
  • Asking a pregnant employee to work while they’re on maternity leave
  • Stopping an employee from returning to work because they’re breastfeeding

No employer wants a discrimination case on their hands but it’s important you’re able to manage it confidently and compliantly if one does fall in your lap. If you’re a client of ours and would like support with managing discrimination in your workplace, you can call our experts on our 24/7 advice line on 0345 844 4848,

What does protected status mean?

Protected Status means an individual’s sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, pregnancy status, and any other legally protected characteristic.

What are the protected characteristics class?

Should “class” be protected under equality law? If you think you didn’t get hired or suffered a disadvantage at work because of your social class, there is currently no obvious protection for you under discrimination law. The Equality Act 2010 only applies if you can show that the conduct you are challenging is connected to one or more of the nine characteristics the act protects.

These include race, sex, gender reassignment, disability, religion or belief, age and sexual orientation, but not your socio-economic status. Many think the exclusion of class from this list of protected characteristics means that we are failing to prohibit a very real and plainly unacceptable form of discrimination in our society.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights has recently called on national governments to prevent “povertyism”, defined as negative attitudes and behaviours towards people living in poverty. They argue that “povertyism” should be given the same protection as discrimination based on race, sex, age etc.

  1. Closer to home, the British Psychological Society, the TUC, the Social Mobility Commission and some academics have argued for “social class” to be added to the Equality Act 2010 as a way of promoting social mobility and addressing class-based inequalities.
  2. Adding “class” would not only mean that negative treatment based on this characteristic (ie discrimination, harassment and victimisation) would be prohibited.

It would also put a duty on public sector entities to monitor and report on their efforts to tackle discrimination of this kind. It would also give employers a legal footing on which to take “positive action” to address identified barriers or disadvantages faced by certain socio-economic groups.