Gender Discrimination

It is against the law to treat someone unfairly because of their sex (or gender) in the workplace. The law on gender discrimination applies to both men and women.

All workers are protected by this law, including those who are applying for a job, apprentices, people on work experience, self employed people, contract and agency workers and part time workers.

Gender discrimination can be direct or indirect, or in the form of harassment or victimisation. 

Remember that the discriminating person or the person commiting harassment may not be aware that they are doing so, but this does not mean you should ignore it; always report it.

Examples of direct discrimination

  • Not promoting you to a higher, management position because you are a woman
  • Not offering a man the post of secretary as secretaries are traditionally thought to be women
  • An employer can never justify direct discrimination

Examples of indirect discrimination

  • Requiring you to work full time even if your employer knows that, as a woman, you have to take your children to school. In other words, not allowing you be flexible
  • Nearly all cases of indirect discrimination involve women. Although not aimed at your personally, the policy in question puts you at a disadvantage because of your sex.

Examples of harassment

  • Harassment applies to both men and women, and those who are undergoing a gender reassignment (changing from one sex to another).
  • Harassment includes comments, touching, physical contact, leering, displaying and sending offensive material
What to do if you find yourself in this situation
  • Tell them to stop
  • Tell your manager what is happening and put it in writing
  • If it is your manager, tell someone higher up in the organisation
  • Talk to your personnel department or trade union for help
  • Get advice from a Citizen's Advice bureau
  • Collect evidence- keep a diary of each occurence


Victimisation may occur after filing a complaint for harassment within your workplace. If this occurs you can make a claim for unlawful victimastion.


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