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Protected characteristics

17 May 2016

The Equality Act 2010 highlights ‘protected characteristics’ – or protection for people who are most likely to be disadvantaged or discriminated against by our society as listed below.

Age discrimination

It is unlawful for your age to be the cause of less favourable treatment in your workplace or in vocational training.


Religion and belief

Your religion or belief, or those of somebody else, should not interfere with your right to be treated fairly at work, at school, in shops or while accessing public services such as health care and housing.

Sexual orientation

Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight should not put you at a disadvantage.


Disability discrimination

If you have a physical or mental impairment, you have rights that protect you against discrimination. Employers and service providers are required to make adjustments for you.

Gender equality (sex discrimination)

People should not be treated unfairly because they are male, female or transgender, because they are married or because they are raising a family. Examples include equal pay and flexible working to support work-life balance and family and caring commitments.


Race discrimination

Wherever you were born, wherever your parents came from, whatever the colour of your skin, you have a right to be treated fairly.

Groups at risk of disadvantage in Essex

This report looks at what we know about the protected characteristics created by the Equality Act 2010.