What are protected characteristics in employment law

Employment laws were put in place to help protect both employees and employers. It provides parameters around a number of issues that can arise in employment and also helps to protect employees from discrimination and unfair dismissal. When an employee feels like they have been treated unfairly they might file a Constructive Dismissal Claim through a company like Employment Law Friend against their former employer.

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There are 9 protected characteristics that are cited in the Equality Act 2010. It is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on any of these characteristics. They are:





Religion or Belief

Sexual Orientation

Gender Reassignment

Marriage or Civil Partnership

Pregnancy and Maternity

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It is an employer’s job to make sure that the company does not discriminate against people based on any of these characteristics and that they ensure that employees don’t discriminate against each other. If an employee feels they are being treated unfairly as a result of a characteristic the company needs to deal with this swiftly and effectively. This could mean educating employees on what constitutes discrimination and how it will be dealt with in the company as well as giving employees a chance to discuss their worries in a confidential way.

Discrimination can include anything from pasing someone over for a promotion through to slandering someone based on a protected characteristic.