Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace is where an employee is treated differently because of their sexual orientation. The treatment doesn’t have to intentional for it to be unlawful.

The Equality Act 2010 highlights that you must not be discriminated against because you are heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual, someone assumes you have a sexual orientation (discrimination by perception) or if you are associated with a person who has a sexual orientation (discrimination by association).

There are four common types of sexual orientation discrimination.

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated worse than another person in the same or similar situation because of their sexual orientation. An example of this is if a man refers to his male partner and he is not offered the job even though he was the best suited candidate for the job.

Indirect discrimination happens when an employer’s method of working or policy makes people feel inferior because of their sexual orientation. A policy like this can only be permitted if an employer has a valid reason for implementation and it is appropriate.

Harassment in the workplace occurs when an employer makes an employee feels offended, intimidated or humiliated because of their sexual orientation.

Victimisation is where you are treated unfairly because you have made a complaint under the Equality Act of sexual orientation related discrimination. It is also where you are supporting someone who has made a claim of sexual orientation related discrimination.

 

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