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:
- 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)
- sexual orientation.