7.1 Protected characteristics: tackling discrimination
As mentioned in the previous section, the Equality Act 2010 specifies nine areas that it terms ‘protected characteristics’. The next section of the course will explore aspects of one of these (disability), but in terms of discrimination, two UK organisations have an array of resources and references on each of the protected characteristics:
- the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), an independent public body that receives funding from the government to work with employers and employees to improve workplace relationships
- the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a UK professional body for human resources and people development.
Activity 14 Explore anti-discrimination resources
Visit each of the resources linked below to gain an overview of each of the protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010.
- age [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (CIPD)
- disability (CIPD)
- gender equality (sex discrimination) (CIPD)
- marital or civil partnership status (National Union of Journalists (NUJ): there is an ACAS report on this topic, but it is a 30-page PDF file)
- pregnancy and maternity (ACAS)
- race (CIPD)
- religion and belief (CIPD)
- sexual orientation, gender identity and gender reassignment (CIPD).
You should spend at least 10 minutes on each characteristic, but if you wish to spend more time exploring this topic, there are additional CIPD and external resources at the bottom of each page.
Conversations related to protected characteristic require a sensitive and empathic approach. Often these involve situations that the person may not feel comfortable discussing, or potential concerns that they wish to raise about the organisation’s approach. Many organisations are becoming more aware and have appropriate networks in place to support both employees and line managers to start to have better conversations.