Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Under section 12 (1) of the Equality Act 2010 an individual is protected from discrimination based upon their sexual orientation. If an employer or a potential employer treats you unfavourably because of your sexual orientation you could make a claim at an Employment Tribunal for sexual orientation discrimination.

What is Sexual Orientation Discrimination?

Sexual Orientation discrimination can come under one of four guises they are as follows; Direct, Indirect, Victimisation and Harassment; below we will go over briefly what each of them entails and an example. As mentioned above this legislation also applies to those who are applying for jobs as well as those already employed. If after considering them you do feel that you have a potential sexual orientation discrimination case then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 756 6605 where one of our friendly team members will be able to advise you further.

Direct Discrimination: 

This is when you are treated less favourably as a direct consequence of your sexual orientation compared to someone of a different sexual orientation. For example, if a job advert it states that they are looking for a husband and wife team to manage a bar then this could be viewed as direct sexual orientation discrimination as they are treating same sex couples in a less favourable fashion.

Indirect Discrimination:

This is when a provision, criterion or practice is enacted against all staff members however it put those of a different sexual orientation at a disadvantage compared to those of other sexual orientations.


This is when an employee is treated unfavourably because they have submitted a complaint about sexual orientation discrimination in the work place or have supported another employee’s claim for sexual orientation discrimination.


Under s.26 of the Equality Act 2010 an employee is protected from being harassed due to their sexual orientation. The definition of harassment is such that an employee is not meant to have his dignity violated or be forced to work in an intimidating, degrading, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment. If for example a fellow employee is distributing posters which are discriminatory towards homosexuals then the employer is vicariously liable (i.e. they are liable as if they had themselves distributed the posters) for this mistreatment.

What Next?

After reading through this page you feel that you have been suffering sexual orientation discrimination at work then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 756 6605 where one of our team will talk through your situation and any potential next steps. We will also be able to offer advice on whether your case is one that could potentially be done on a no win no fee basis.

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