What the law says - Using protected characteristics to make decisions

What the law says

Under the law (Equality Act 2010), in certain circumstances employers can:

  • take action based on a particular protected characteristic
  • justify a business decision that affects people with a particular protected characteristic

This can help:

  • someone or a group of people who are disadvantaged or underrepresented in the organisation
  • the organisation's diversity and inclusion
  • to fulfil a specific need for the employer

Employers can do this through either:

The protected characteristics under the law are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Contact the Acas helpline

If you have any questions about using protected characteristics to make a decision at work, contact the Acas helpline.

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