Our Union is campaigning against all forms of discrimination.
We are highlighting the nine protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010 and providing information and guidance on each. This is in line with a vote at our 2018 Annual Meeting urging our union to do more on these issues. This week we look at discrimination against LGBT+ workers. Members who suffer discrimination or are falsely accused of discrimination should contact the union as soon as they can. Then we can start to help.
The Equality Act 2010 protects lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people from direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation at work.
The law protects those looked at or thought of as lesbian, gay, bi or trans or anyone who experiences discrimination because they associate with LGBT people too.
There are instances, about 'occupational requirements', where exemptions may apply, although these are limited.
Employers have to adhere to the Equality Act. The number of staff used or the amount of money made by the business is not relevant.
The law protects staff throughout the application and interview process, and throughout the term of their employment, including any probation or notice period.
THE RULES APPLY TO ALL PAID EMPLOYEES INCLUDING:
- Those with full-time contracts
- Those with temporary contracts
- Contract workers (unless they are self-employed)
- Agency staff (in most cases)
- Vocational trainees
- Work experience students.
The organisation you feel has acted unlawfully has responsibility. This means that agency staff placed with a firm that breaks the law, or employs someone who acts unlawfully, should complain to that organisation. You should challenge the agency if it discriminates.
Direct discrimination because of sexual orientation
If you are treated less favourably because of your sexual orientation than someone of a different sexual orientation would be treated in the same circumstances that's direct discrimination.
It is also direct discrimination to treat you less favourably because of the sexual orientation of someone you know, such as a family member or friend (discrimination by association).
You need to prove direct discrimination. It will help if you can give an example of a colleague from a different sexual orientation who, in similar circumstances, has been, or would have been, treated more favourably than you.
Abuse and harassment because of sexual orientation are forms of direct discrimination.
If someone has been violent or hostile towards you due to your sexual orientation, you can also report this to the police as a hate incident or hate crime.
Indirect discrimination because of sexual orientation
It is indirect sexual orientation discrimination to have a rule, policy or practice which someone of a particular sexual orientation is less likely to meet, and this places them at a disadvantage to people of a different sexual orientation.
If you think indirect sexual orientation discrimination might have occurred, you can make a complaint about it. Your first step should always be to contact Solidarity Union for advice and guidance. Solidarity Union stands against any discrimination against imembers and will help.
If you complain about sexual orientation discrimination, you shouldn’t be victimised because you complained. This means that you shouldn’t be treated unfairly just because you’ve made a complaint.
Making a complaint includes taking a case to court, going to an employment tribunal or standing up for your rights in some other way.
You can get protection if you are victimised because you’ve made a complaint about sexual orientation discrimination. You can also get protection from discrimination for helping someone else to make a complaint about sexual orientation discrimination, for example, by giving evidence as a witness in court.