AGE - Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age or range of ages. It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably on the grounds of their age. This applies to people of all ages in the context of employment or in admission to further and higher education.
DISABILITY - A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long - term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day - to - day activities. This has extended to cover people who have had a disability in the past. It is not permissible to treat a disabled person less favourably than a person without disabilities. Reasonable adjustments must be made in order to give disabled people as much access to services, employment, training and/or promotion as a people with no disabilities.
GENDER IDENTITY AND GENDER REASSIGNMENT - Gender Identity refers to a person’s conception of oneself in terms of their gender and gender reassignment refers to the process of transitioning from one gender to another. The definition of gender re - assignment has been extended to cover people who are living in their gender, but who have elected for personal reasons not to undergo medical and/or surgical treatment. It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably on the grounds of their gender identity, gender re - assignment or transgender status. This applies to men, women and those undergoing or intending to undergo gender re - assignment.
MARRIAGE AND CIVIL PARTNERSHIP – Marriage is no longer restricted to a union between a man and a woman but now includes a marriage between a same - sex couple. Same - sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as 'civil partnerships'. Civil partners or same sex married couples must be treated the same as different sex married couples.
PREGNANCY AND MATERNITY – Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. Maternity refers to the period of 26 weeks after the birth, which reflects the period of a woman’s ordinary maternity leave entitlement in the employment context. In the workplace, a woman is protected against discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity during the period of her pregnancy and any statutory maternity leave to which she is entitled. In the non - work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for six months after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. After six-months a breastfeeding mother is protected through the sex discrimination provisions in the Equality Act. It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because they are pregnant or in a state of maternity.
RACE – Refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins. It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their race, the colour of their skin, their nationality or their ethnic origin.
RELIGION AND BELIEF - Religion usually has a clear structure and belief system and belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of such belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belie f should affect life choices or the way a person lives for it to be included in the definition. It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their religious beliefs or their religion or their lack of any religion or belief.
SEX - A man or a woman. It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably on the grounds of sex. Sexual harassment of members of either sex can be found to constitute sex discrimination.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION - Sexual Orientation refers to whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes. It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their sexual orientation. For example, an employer cannot refuse to employ a person because they are homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual.
Whilst not part of the “protected Characteristics” as defined by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the MI adds the following characteristics to its policy – Class, Trade Union Activity and non-relevant criminal activity.