At Hexham Community Centre we will robustly maintain equality for all staff, users and stakeholders. There are 9 protected characteristics as set out below. Set out also are the ways in which discrimination can be manifested against those characteristics
Age discrimination is when you are treated differently because of your age. The Equality Act 2010 says that you must not be discriminated against because:
- you are (or are not) a certain age or in a certain age group
- someone thinks you are (or are not) a specific age or age group, this is known as discrimination by perception
- you are connected to someone of a specific age or age group, this is known as discrimination by association
Age groups can be quite wide (for example, ‘people under 50’ or ‘under 18s’). They can also be quite specific (for example, ‘people in their mid-40s’). Terms such as ‘young person’ and ‘youthful’ or ‘elderly’ and ‘pensioner’ can also indicate an age group. There are 4 main types of Age discrimination; direct, indirect, harassment and victimisation
Disability discrimination is when you are treated less well or put at a disadvantage for a reason that relates to your disability in one of the situations covered by The Equality Act. The treatment could be a one-off action, the application of a rule or policy or the existence of physical or communication barriers which make accessing something difficult or impossible. The discrimination does not have to be intentional to be unlawful.
What the Equality Act says about disability discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 says that you must not be discriminated against because:
- you have a disability
- someone thinks you have a disability (this is known as discrimination by perception)
- you are connected to someone with a disability (this is known as discrimination by association)
It is not unlawful discrimination to treat a disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person. There are six main types of disability discrimination: direct, indirect, failure to make reasonable adjustments, discrimination arising from disability, harassment and victimisation.
Gender Reassignment Discrimination
This is when you are treated differently because you are transsexual, in one of the situation covered by The Equality Act. The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful. There are some circumstances when being treated differently due to gender reassignment is lawful, explained below.
What the Equality Act says about Gender Reassignment
The Equality Act says that you must not be discriminated against because:
- of your gender reassignment as a transsexual. You may prefer the description transgender person or trans male or female. A wide range of people are included in the terms ‘trans’ or ‘transgender’ but you are not protected as transgender unless you propose to change your gender or have done so. For example, a group of men on a stag do who put on fancy dress as women are turned away from a restaurant. They are not transsexual so not protected from discrimination
- someone thinks you are transsexual, for example because you occasionally cross-dress or are gender variant (this is known as discrimination by perception)
- you are connected to a transsexual person, or someone wrongly thought to be transsexual (this is known as discrimination by association) Intersex people (the term used to describe a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female or male) are not explicitly protected from discrimination by the Equality Act, but you must not be discriminated against because of your gender or perceived gender. For example:
- if a woman with an intersex condition is refused entry to a women-only swimming pool because the attendants think her to be a man, this could be sex discrimination or disability discrimination
There are 4 types of gender reassignment discrimination; Direct, Indirect, Harassment and Victimisation.
Marriage and Civil Partnership Discrimination
This is when you are treated differently at work because you are married or in a civil partnership.
What the Equality Act says about marriage and civil partnership discrimination
The Equality Act says you must not be discriminated against in employment because you are married or in a civil partnership. In the Equality Act marriage and civil partnership means someone who is legally married or in a civil partnership. Marriage can either be between a man and a woman, or between partners of the same sex. Civil partnership is between partners of the same sex. People do not have this characteristic if they are:
- living with someone as a couple neither married nor civil partners
- engaged to be married but not married
- divorced or a person whose civil partnership has been dissolved
There are 3 types of marriage or civil partnership discrimination; direct, indirect and victimisation.
Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination
This is when a woman is discriminated against because of her pregnancy any illness arising as a consequence of her pregnancy, and time off she may need to take because of this. She is seeking to take, taking or has taken maternity leave / pay. The employer does not want her to return to work because she is breastfeeding.
There is no minimum length of employment. Discriminating against women breastfeeding is still unlawful after the designated period is ended and could become sex discrimination.
What the Equality Act says about maternity and pregnancy discrimination
A woman should:
- Not be subject to unfair treatment through her pregnancy
- Not suffer disadvantage in her job due to employer’s rules, procedures, policies or practices
- Not suffer unwanted behaviour due to her pregnancy or maternity
This special protection also means that treatment which impacts on an employee negatively because of her pregnancy or maternity may be discriminatory even though other staff are treated the same way. A job applicant need not tell her employer that she is pregnant and should not be discriminated against during the selection process because she obviously is or may be pregnant. She will tell her new employer as soon as is reasonably practicable after her recruitment or not less than 15 weeks before her due date. A woman should tell her employer she is pregnant not less than 15 weeks before her due date. Due to the special protection law it may be in her interests to tell her employer earlier than this. Types of maternity discrimination include; victimization and unfavourable treatment.
This is when you are treated differently because of your race in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act. The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy based on race. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful. There are some circumstances when being treated differently due to race is lawful, explained below.
What the Equality Act says about race discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 says you must not be discriminated against because of your race. In the Equality Act, race can mean your colour, or your nationality (including your citizenship). It can also mean your ethnic or national origins, which may not be the same as your current nationality. For example, you may have Chinese national origins and be living in Britain with a British passport. Race also covers ethnic and racial groups. This means a group of people who all share the same protected characteristic of ethnicity or race. A racial group can be made up of two or more distinct racial groups, for example black Britons, British Asians, British Sikhs, British Jews, Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers.
You may be discriminated against because of one or more aspects of your race, for example people born in Britain to Jamaican parents could be discriminated against because they are British citizens, or because of their Jamaican national origins. There are 4 types of Race discrimination; Direct, Indirect, Harassment and Victimisation.
Religion or Belief
What is a religion is not defined by the Equality Act. However, in line with the European Convention on Human Rights and Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission’s employment statutory code of practice, it is accepted that:
- a religion must have a clear structure and belief system
- a clearly-structured denomination or sect within a religion can be covered
- employees without a religious faith, as well as those with a faith, can be protected against discrimination. For example, someone who is not a Hindu would be protected against discrimination because they are not a Hindu
- what makes up religious belief or practice may vary among people in that religion
- no one religion or branch of a religion overrides another –so an employee is protected against discrimination by someone of another religion, or of the same religion or of a different branch or practice of their religion. For example, it would be discriminatory for an employee to treat a colleague of the same religion unfairly because they regard them as less orthodox in their belief.
The Equality Act does not give a comprehensive list of religions, although its explanatory notes give examples-the Baha’i faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Rastafarianism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism
Broadly speaking, a philosophical belief must be all of the following:
- genuinely held
- not just an opinion or point-of-view based on current information
- a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour
- clear, logical, convincing, serious, important, and
- worthy of respect in a democratic society, compatible with human dignity and not conflicting with the fundamental rights of others. It is broadly accepted that, for example, humanism, atheism and agnosticism are ‘beliefs’, but supporting a football team or loyalty to your native country are not.
What the Equality Act Says about religion or belief. You must not be treated differently because of your religion or beliefs or lack thereof. There are 4 types of religious or belief discrimination; direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment or victimization.
This is when you are treated differently because of your sex, in certain situations covered by the Equality Act 20190 The treatment could be a one-off action or could be caused by a rule or policy. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful.
What the Equality Act says about sex discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 says you must not be discriminated against because:
- you are (or are not) a particular sex
- someone thinks you are the opposite sex (this is known as discrimination by perception)
- you are connected to someone of a particular sex (this is known as discrimination by association) In the Equality Act, sex can mean either male or female, or a group of people like men or boys, or women or girls.
There are 4 types of sex discrimination Direct, Indirect, Harassment and Victimisation.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of their sexual orientation. For example, an employer not promoting an employee purely because they are gay is likely to be discrimination.
The Act defines Sexual orientation as:
- orientation towards people of the same sex (lesbians and gay men)
- orientation towards people of the opposite sex (heterosexual)
- orientation towards people of the same sex and the opposite sex (bisexual).
The law applies equally whether someone is a lesbian, gay man, heterosexual or bisexual.
What the Equality act says about discrimination due to sexual orientation
The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of their sexual orientation. For example, an employer not promoting an employee purely because they are gay is likely to be discrimination. You should not be discriminated against because of your actual sexual orientation, your perceived sexual orientation or because of the sexual orientation of the people with whom you associate.
Coming out at work
When someone tells other people about their sexual orientation this is known as ‘coming out’. This process is personal and different for everyone. While many lesbian, gay and bisexual people are ‘out’ in their personal lives, they may not want to ‘come out’ at work. If the employee is limiting who they tell, they also need to decide whether they want those people to keep the details of their sexual orientation confidential. If someone reveals a person’s sexual orientation to others against that person’s will, this may be seen as:
- harassment and/or
- a breach of the Data Protection Act (if details are stored as confidential data) and/or
- a breach of any of the employer’s relevant regulations or policies.
The four types of sexual orientation discrimination are; harassment, victimisation, direct discrimination and indirect discrimination.
Types of discrimination
This happens when someone treats you worse than another person in a similar situation because of your characteristic.
Indirect discrimination happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that applies to everyone, but which puts people of your characteristic group at a disadvantage.
Harassment occurs when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded. For example: during a training session at work, the trainer keeps commenting how slow an older employee is at learning how to use a new software package because of his age. The employee finds this distressing. This could be considered harassment related to age. Harassment can never be justified. However, if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, you will not be able to make a claim for harassment against it, although you could make a claim against the harasser.
This is when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint of age discrimination under the Equality Act. It can also occur if you are supporting someone who has made a complaint of age discrimination. For example: your colleague complains of being called a ‘wrinkly’ at work. You help them complain to your manager. Your manager treats you badly as a result of getting involved.
Failure to make reasonable adjustments
Under the Equality Act employers and organisations have a responsibility to make sure that disabled people can access jobs, education and services as easily as non-disabled people. This is known as the ‘duty to make reasonable adjustments’.
If any type of discrimination is alleged to have happened to an employee via another employee this will be treated as a grievance procedure for the employee against whom the discrimination has occurred. It will be treated as a disciplinary procedure for the alleged perpetrator and could result in suspension during investigation.
If any type of discrimination is alleged to have happened to an employee via a centre user, the manger will be informed and will investigate. If discrimination is proven, depending on the severity or persistence of the alleged discrimination the user will be spoken to, receive a letter to demand that this discrimination desist, or the matter may be passed to the Trustees. If discrimination persists the management will take steps to protect their staff, measures may include; not allowing the user back into the building and / or informing the police.
If any type of discrimination is alleged to have happened between 2 centre users, the manager will investigate. Discrimination may be flagged up as part of the complaint’s procedure. The manager will treat the alleged discrimination as a complaint and will investigate with the gravity the situation requires. Both sides will be spoken with and action will be decided upon. It is the duty of the manager, the trustees and the staff to make sure that the Community Centre is a safe place for all users. Persistent and / or severe forms of discrimination will result in not allowing the offending user back into the building and /or informing the police.
If any type of discrimination is alleged to have occurred against a member of the public or a centre user by staff, then a full investigation of the event and the member of staff, via the disciplinary procedure, will be undertaken. This could include suspension during investigation, a written warning or dismissal for gross misconduct.