Discrimination means treating a person unfairly because of who they are or because of the group, class, or category to which the person is perceived to belong.


The Equality Act became law in 2010 and covers everyone in Britain. It protects people from discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Under the Equality Act, there are nine protected characteristics:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Under the Equality Act you are protected from discrimination when you are in the workplace, when you use public services, when you use businesses and other organisations that provide services, and more.



If you think you’ve been unfairly discriminated against you can:

  • complain directly to the person or organisation
  • use someone else to help you sort it out, often called ‘mediation’
  • make a claim in a court or tribunal

If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, employees should talk to their employer first to try and sort out the problem informally.

If things cannot be resolved, you can talk to the Citizens Advice for further support and information.

Citizens Advice is a network of charities that offer confidential advice online, over the phone and in person, for free. They give people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are, and whatever their problem.


Discrimination often results in anxiety, sadness, depression and a feeling of fear and anger. If you experience any of these difficult feelings, you may wish to visit your GP for support in dealing with and overcoming them.