Topics

Sexual orientation discrimination

Fiona Cuming

Editor's message: Sexual orientation is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and means sexual orientation towards persons of the same sex, persons of the opposite sex or persons of either sex.

Protection extends to discrimination because of a person's perceived sexual orientation. This means that a heterosexual individual who is discriminated against on the basis of a mistaken belief that he or she is gay is protected.

There are various steps that your organisation can take to establish an inclusive workplace for your LGBT staff, including equality awareness training and having an effective equal opportunities policy that is promoted and embedded within your organisation's culture. Such steps will also help your organisation to defend a sexual orientation discrimination complaint should it ever arise.

Fiona Cuming, employment law editor

New and updated

  • Date:
    14 October 2020
    Type:
    Podcasts and webinars

    Podcast: Ten years of the Equality Act 2010 - what it means for employers

    Jo Broadbent, counsel knowledge lawyer at Hogan Lovells, explores the practical impact on employers of discrimination legislation, 10 years on from the introduction of the Equality Act 2010.

  • Type:
    Quick reference

    Sexual orientation discrimination awards

    Updated to reflect the sexual orientation awards made by employment tribunals in 2019/20.

  • Date:
    2 October 2020
    Type:
    Editor's choice

    Quick reference: tribunal statistics

    XpertHR's Quick reference tool has been updated to incorporate the latest annual tribunal claims and awards statistics.

  • Date:
    6 May 2020
    Type:
    Law reports

    ECJ considers if homophobic comments made in radio interview breached EU law

    In NH v Associazione Avvocatura per i diritti LGBTI, the European Court of Justice held that a senior lawyer's comments on a radio programme that he would not wish to recruit homosexual people fell within the scope of the Equal Treatment Framework Directive (2000/78/EC) even though his firm was not recruiting, or planning to recruit, at the time.

  • Date:
    16 April 2020
    Type:
    Law reports

    £174,000 award for gay employee who suffered homophobic taunts

    In Allen v Paradigm Precision Burnley Ltd and another, an employment tribunal found that homophobic comments made by colleagues to to a gay employee amounted to sexual orientation harassment.

  • Date:
    9 April 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    Sexual orientation discrimination: Tribunal identifies wrong hypothetical comparator

    In Governing Body of Sutton Oak Church of England Primary School and others v Whittaker, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that an employment tribunal failed to identify an appropriate hypothetical comparator when deciding that a gay teacher's dismissal for inappropriate meetings with a pupil constituted sexual orientation discrimination.

  • Date:
    3 April 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    Constructive dismissal: School mishandles disciplinary action against headteacher

    In Governing Body of Tywyn Primary School v Aplin, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld a headteacher's constructive dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination claims after his school mishandled disciplinary action over his lawful sexual activities with two 17-year-olds he met through Grindr.

  • Type:
    Employment law manual

    Sexual orientation discrimination

    Updated to include information on Bessong v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, in which the EAT considered if an employer can be held liable for third-party harassment under the Equality Act 2010.

  • Date:
    11 October 2018
    Type:
    Law reports

    No direct sexual orientation discrimination in Christian bakery's refusal to make "gay cake"

    In Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd and others, the Supreme Court held that a Christian bakery did not commit direct sexual orientation discrimination in the provision of goods and services when it refused to fulfil a cake order with a message in support of same-sex marriage.

  • Type:
    Employment law manual

    Discrimination in recruitment and selection

    The law on discrimination in recruitment and selection, including the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on recruitment, direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, the duty to make reasonable adjustments, positive action, occupational requirements, monitoring and keeping records.

About this topic

HR and legal information and guidance relating to sexual orientation discrimination.