The Equality Act 2010 protects lesbian, gay, bi and trans people from direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation at work.
It applies to anyone who is perceived to be lesbian, gay, bi or trans, or anyone who experiences discrimination because they associate with LGBT people.
However, there are some instances, specifically regarding 'occupational requirements', where exemptions may apply, although these are limited.
All employers have to adhere to the Equality Act, regardless of the number of staff they employ or the amount of money they make.
Staff are protected throughout the application and interview process, as well as throughout the term of their employment, including any probation or notice period.
The rules apply to all paid employees including:
- Those with full-time contracts
- Those with temporary contracts
- Contract workers (unless they are genuinely self-employed)
- Agency staff (in most cases)
- Vocational trainees
- Work experience students.
Responsibility for ensuring these rules are not breached lies with the organisation you feel has acted unlawfully. This means that agency staff placed with an organisation that acts unlawfully, or employs someone who acts unlawfully, should follow this up with that particular organisation. If the agency acts in a discriminatory way this should be followed up directly with them.
Other useful sources of support
You can find LGBT-friendly solicitors and other useful contacts through Stonewall's online database What's In My Area.
For further information contact Stonewall's Information Service.