The scope of discrimination legislation in force covers job applicants and workers (including workers under a contract for apprenticeship) and in certain circumstances former workers and workers who work wholly or partly in Great Britain. Volunteers working under a non-contractual volunteer agreement will normally not be covered unless they perform their services under a contractual arrangement. The legislation covers workers before, during and after employment.
Job applicants are specifically protected against any discrimination in the arrangements made by an employer in determining who should be offered a job. This also applies in relation to the terms that are offered to job applicants and in relation to an employer’s refusal or deliberate omission to offer an applicant a job.
During employment, workers are covered in respect of discrimination which occurs during the employment relationship. Employers are prevented from discriminating in the terms of employment which are offered, in the way that they are offered and in relation to opportunities for promotion, transfer or training or any other benefits, facilities or services. Discrimination can also apply by refusing or deliberately omitting to afford access to the above or by dismissing the employee or subjecting them to any other detriment.
After employment has ended, ex-workers are protected against any unlawful discrimination and/or harassment where it arises out of and is closely connected to their employment relationship. Common situations in which this can arise include a refusal to provide references, handling an appeal against dismissal in a discriminatory fashion, refusing to reinstate a worker or refusing to pay a compensatory award for discrimination.
The scope of an employer’s liability for discriminatory acts covers both their own acts, whether direct or indirect, and also the actions of their workers or agents carried out in the course of their employment. This obligation applies whether or not they are done with the employer’s knowledge or approval or with the authority of the employer
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