Sex discrimination

Jeya Thiruchelvam

Editor's message: The law on sex discrimination is embodied in the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of the protected characteristic of sex.

The concept of direct discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 is very wide. As well as the less favourable treatment of a person because of his or her own sex, direct sex discrimination extends to less favourable treatment because of a person's perceived sex, even where that perception is wrong. This could occur, for example, where an employer rejects a CV from a man who it wrongly believes to be a woman because of his name.

Direct sex discrimination also covers the situation where a person is treated less favourably because of someone else’s sex, for example because of the sex of his or her colleagues, friends or relatives.

Jeya Thiruchelvam, senior employment law editor

New and updated