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Discrimination law - the basics: protected characteristics

Author: Tina McKevitt

This line manager briefing can be adapted for use in your organisation, subject to the XpertHR terms and conditions of use.


Achieving and maintaining fairness and equality in the workplace is a key part of the role of a line manager.

The briefing Discrimination law - the basics: discriminatory behaviour provides practical guidance on your role in recognising and handling equality and discrimination issues. This briefing takes a closer look at the characteristics that members of your workforce may have, which are protected under discrimination law. These characteristics are known as "protected characteristics".

The term "discrimination" is used as part of everyday speech, but it has a very specific legal meaning. In a legal context, discrimination occurs only when the treatment is because of a protected characteristic. Bad or less favourable treatment is not discrimination if it is not connected to a protected characteristic.