Discrimination at work
Unfair discrimination in employment is wrong. It is bad for the
individuals who are denied jobs and access to vocational training,
who suffer victimisation or harassment, because of prejudice. It
is bad for the businesses which are denying themselves access to
the widest pool of talent and not sharing in the benefits - such
as increased motivation, lower turnover of staff and access to
wider markets - that a diverse workforce and effective equality
policies can bring.
The introduction of legislation - The Employment Equality (Sexual
Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality
(Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 - was a major step forward
in tackling unfair discrimination in the UK. The Regulations
implement strands of the European Employment Directive (Council
Northern Ireland has separate legislation implementing the
Click here for more information about the Northern Ireland
Click here for more information about the Employment Equality
This section offers answers to some frequently asked questions
about the legislation and where to go for more information and
We have made
amendments to the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation)
Regulations 2003 to take account of the introduction of the
Civil Partnership Act 2004.
Building 2004/05 - supporting activity to raise awareness and
understanding of Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation, Religion
or Belief) Regulations
Government recognises that intermediary organisations (employers'
bodies, unions, voluntary and community bodies) play an important
role in supporting the practical application of new legislation.
In 2003-04 we gave £625,000
to a range of such organisations so they could offer advice
on sexual orientation and religion or belief employment issues.
We built on this work in 2004-05; offering £1.4 million
in grants to organisations from across the UK. Projects supported
are using a
wide range of initiatives from seminars and roadshows to guides
and leaflets to help businesses and individuals understand their
new rights and responsibilities under the Employment Equality
(Sexual Orientation and Religion or Belief) Regulations.
We hope that the 2004/05 projects have helped develop some longer-term
capacity in the newer legislative areas, before the Commission on
Equality and Human Rights comes into operation.
Click here for details of funding 2005/07
and Diversity: The European Context
The UK Government played an active
role in negotiating two European Directives on
impact will be significant in tackling discrimination across the EU.
The Employment Directive
discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, religion or
belief, disability and age in employment and vocational training.
New legislation - The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation)
Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief)
Regulations 2003 - came into force in December 2003.
Amendments to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 came
into force in October 2004 and new legislation outlawing
discrimination on grounds of age by the end of 2006.
discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin in the areas
of employment, vocational training, goods and services, social
protection, education and housing. Changes to the Race Relations
Act 1976 to implement the Directive came into force in July
here for more information about the EU's approach to
making changes to equality legislation in the workplace.