What is discrimination at work?

While you can create a diversity policy for work, it needs to be managed and adapted to ensure it addresses all of the characteristics that help to promote equality and equal opportunity in the workplace that help to stamp out race, sex, age, religion and disability based discrimination.

More and more, businesses in the UK are addressing gender pay gaps, improving workplace culture and promoting gender diversity.

However, despite these big steps that have been taken, there is still discrimination in the workplace ranging from sexism to racism, ageism and unconscious bias that can foster negative workplace attitudes and promote a bad workplace culture.

Discrimination in the workplace is based on prejudices and unconscious bias traits within workers which cause an employee to be treated unfairly because of the colour of their skin, their religious beliefs, their age, sex, disability or even if they are pregnant.

Their are two types of discrimination in the workplace

  • Direct Discrimination
  • Indirect Discrimination

Direct Discrimination

Examples of Direct Discrimination include when you pay someone less for no good reason. You unfairly reject a request for flexible working from someone returning from maternity leave or you do not make suitable and reasonable adjustments to the workplace for an employee suffering from a disability.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination covers more than one specific individual, So for example, if you demand that everyone works on a Sunday, this is indirect discrimination against those who are Christians and have Sunday as their day of worship.

Sex, orientation and gender reassignment

From equal pay sex discrimination to those who have undergone gender reassignment. They are all protected under the Equality Act of 2010 and any EDI based policy in a business must ensure that this if policed properly. Everyone has different needs and therefor may require different types or levels of support. Equality does not mean treating everyone the same. Equality is about being fair and flexible to your employees needs.


From hiring to promotion, bonuses, rewards, training courses, pensions and redundancy. The Equality Act 2010 is designed to protect people of all ages in a place of work from age discrimination – whether it be unconscious bias or not.


The term disability covers a far reaching bracket of issues ranging from long term physical or mental disability. Serious illnesses such as Cancer and Long Covid. Businesses in the UK, as part of their diversity policy to prevent discrimination in the workplace, must ensure that they can make reasonable adjustments to accommodate employee disability needs.

Race & Religion

Racism in the workplace is an ongoing battle. Race includes colour, ethnic origin and nationality and therefore covers a large number of potential employees in the workplace. Religion, likewise includes those who believe as well as their faith AND those that do not believe in religion.

Workplace Equality

Equality in the workplace is of course helped by having the Equality Act to support it. It is also the right thing to do as businesses should be supporting their employees, stamping out racism in the workplace and ensuring that their is equal pay between all workers in the business and that gender pay gap is a thing of the past. But promoting equality in the workplace also makes business sense. It makes your employees feel valued and can allow your businesses to attract, retain and progress vital talent while improving workplace productivity, creative thinking and the overall workplace culture.

Promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in a business can also open up new market opportunities and put your business more in touch with the needs of the diverse community around you. Promoting equality and eliminating discrimination at work is a great way of increasing your businesses Corporate Social Responsibilities and having an EDI Policy is one of the best first steps towards preventing discrimination in the workplace.

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The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 includes 9 key characteristics.

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion/Beliefs
  • Disability
  • Marriage/Partnership
  • Pregnancy/Maternity

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At Skills 4 Training, we have over 15 years at the cutting edge of promoting and educating businesses on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. We have supported the growth of more than 10,000 employees who have helped to shape the future of companies such as Atkins, Arcadis, Balfour Beatty, EDF, Kier and Mott MacDonald.

As a business which is both female founded and owned, we offer clients a diverse supply chain as well as first-hand, extensive knowledge of how to implement effective solutions.

Our Vision: To live in a world where everyone brings their true self to work.

We are a multiple award winning diversity training company with a specialist, industry experienced training team who can provide both traditional based training programmes as well as online training for our clients to attractretain and progress diverse talent.

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