Discrimination can be direct or indirect. 
Direct discrimination: Unlawful discrimination occurs when an individual or a group of people are treated less favourably than others based on a relevant or perceived protected characteristic. A person may also be discriminated against because they are associated with or have advocated on behalf of someone with a protected characteristic.  

Indirect discrimination: Can occur when rules are put into practice that apply to everyone but put someone with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage.    

The protected characteristics under the Equality Act (2010) are: 
  • age 
  • disability 
  • gender reassignment 
  • marriage and civil partnership (in employment only) 
  • pregnancy and maternity (including breastfeeding)  
  • race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origin) 
  • religion or belief (including non-belief)  
  • sex/gender  
  • sexual orientation. 



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