Last edited 03 Jun 2018

Protected characteristics

Protected characteristics’ was the term introduced by the Equality Act 2010 to refer to legal protection from discrimination in the workplace afforded to certain groups.

The Act replaced anti-discrimination legislation including the Race Relations Act 1976 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995, but while the responsibilities on the part of businesses remained much the same, it was extended to cover the protected characteristics. The nine protected characteristics are:

  • Age.
  • Disability.
  • Gender reassignment.
  • Marriage and civil partnership.
  • Pregnancy and maternity.
  • Race.
  • Religion or belief.
  • Sex.
  • Sexual orientation.

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