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Sexual Orientation & LGBT Discrimination Laws, Advice for Employers

Martin Searle Solicitors Employment Law Team

How to prevent sexual orientation discrimination in your business

The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 prohibited discrimination against sexuality at work. Since October 2010 sexual orientation and gay discrimination at work have been covered by the Equality Act. The legislation protects lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and heterosexuals from discrimination as a result of their sexual orientation.

The law also protects people who are correctly or incorrectly assumed to have a particular sexual orientation.

If you believe sexual orientation discrimination is taking place in your business, it is important that you discuss your situation with a specialist sexual orientation discrimination lawyer.

Types of LGBT discrimination

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination is where someone is treated less favourably due to their (perceived) sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of people they associate with such as family or friends.

Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination is where a criteria, provision or practice disadvantages people of a particular sexual orientation, and the individual concerned, unless the practice can be objectively justified. The legislation defines justifiable as where an action is a proportional means of achieving a legitimate aim.


Harassment is unwanted conduct that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. There is no defence of justification in respect of harassment and it is unlawful whether it is intentional or not.


Victimisation is where someone is treated less favourably because they have made, or intend to make, a complaint or allegation. Also where they give or intend to give evidence in relation to a complaint of sexual orientation discrimination at work.

How we help employers prevent sexual orientation discrimination at work

We help employers prevent discrimination against sexuality in the workplace in a variety of ways, including writing or advising on the implementation of an equality and diversity policy and training managers in sexual orientation or gay discrimination law.

We can advise on or manage an investigation, grievance or disciplinary procedure involving allegations of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace or represent you at an Employment Tribunal. We also offer advice on redundancy and Settlement Agreements in relation to sexual orientation discrimination.

Contact us today on 01273 609911, or email

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T: 01273 609 991

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