Discrimination – what are your rights?directgov source

Government, citizens and rights

Discrimination – what are your rights?

The law protects you from discrimination due to your age, gender, race, religion or beliefs, disability or sexual orientation. Find out where and how you are protected, and what to do if you have been discriminated against.

Who is protected?

Discrimination can happen in many different ways but you have rights to protect you

By law people are protected from discrimination on the grounds of:

  • race
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • disability (or because of something connected with your disability)
  • religion or belief
  • being a transsexual person
  • having just had a baby or being pregnant 
  • being married or in a civil partnership (this applies only at work or if someone is being trained for work)
  • age (this applies only at work or if someone is being trained for work)

These are known as ‘protected characteristics’.

Race discrimination

Wherever you were born, wherever your parents came from, whatever the colour of your skin, you have a right to be treated fairly.

Gender equality – sex discrimination

Women and men should not be treated unfairly because of their gender, because they are married or because they are raising a family.

Sexual orientation

Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight should not put you at a disadvantage.

Disability discrimination

If you have a physical or mental impairment you have specific rights that protect you against discrimination.

Religion and belief

Your religion or belief, or those of somebody else, should not affect your right to be treated fairly. This could be at work, school, in shops or while using public services like health care.

Transgender discrimination

Trans people should be able to live with dignity. There are protections for some of the forms of discrimination that trans people experience.

Age equality

By law you cannot be treated less favourably in your workplace or in training for work because of your age. For example, it would be unlawful to not employ someone because of their age. 


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