This advice describes the legal protection in place in the UK and Northern Ireland against discrimination in employment. UK employment legislation protecting against discrimination on the grounds of gender and race has been in place since the 1970s (Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976). In 1995, disabled workers were protected under the Disability Discrimination Act.
For England, Scotland and Wales, the anti-discrimination statutes are consolidated into the Equality Act (2010). The legislation in Northern Ireland has not yet been consolidated, but the protection is broadly the same.
Protection under the Equality Act applies to all workers (not just employees). It is not conditional on achieving a period of qualifying service.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in England, Scotland and Wales and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland have a statutory duty to monitor and promote equality. The EHRC has produced Codes of Practice on employment and equal pay.
Members working in a salaried position with concerns about discrimination or harassment at work should contact an Employment Relations Officer (ERO) for advice without delay.