Employers: preventing discrimination

3. Discrimination during employment

You must not discriminate against your employees. This could be done by, for example:

  • introducing measures that discriminate between workers, eg a benefit for married employees that’s not available for people in a civil partnership
  • paying men and women different amounts (this includes benefits, eg company cars) when they’re doing work of equal value
  • selecting someone for redundancy because they have a protected characteristic
  • failing to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled worker
  • firing someone for making an allegation of discrimination
  • firing someone because they’re a union member
  • unfairly rejecting a request for flexible working from a new parent

This includes self-employed people on a contract for you.

Training and promotion can’t just happen because of an employee’s age or the time they’ve worked for you.

You’re allowed to ask employees about their future career plans, including retirement. But you can’t just choose older workers for discussions about retirement. Such talks should be part of general discussions about each worker’s career development.

Employment tribunals

An employee who thinks they’ve been discriminated against may raise a grievance or take their case to an employment tribunal.

You’re responsible for discrimination carried out by your employees unless you can show you’ve done everything you reasonably could to prevent or stop it.

Employing family members

If you hire members of your family you must:

Gender reassignment

The moment a worker tells their employer that they’re having gender reassignment, they’re protected from discrimination. Discrimination includes:

  • disadvantaging the worker because of the time they have to take off because of medical treatment
  • not enabling the worker to use facilities appropriate to their gender

To avoid discrimination, you must:

  • change your records (eg human resources records) when the worker has a Gender Reassignment Certificate and a new birth certificate
  • ensure complete confidentiality of all information the worker gives you about their gender history