Age, gender reassignment, race and sex
Age, gender reassignment, race and sex

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Age, gender reassignment, race and sex
  • Protected characteristics
  • Age
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Definition
  • Immigration status
  • Socio-economic status
  • Caste
  • Sex

Age, gender reassignment, race and sex

This Practice Note considers the definitions of the protected characteristics of age, gender reassignment, race and sex under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010).

Protected characteristics

EqA 2010 provides protection against discrimination which relates to certain listed characteristics which people may possess. Some protections relate specifically to only one of those characteristics. Others provide the same protection in relation to all the characteristics, which are collectively referred to as 'the protected characteristics'.

Each protected characteristic is listed and (with the exception of pregnancy and maternity) defined in EqA 2010:

  1. age—see Age, below, for further information

  2. disability—see Practice Note: Disability for further information

  3. gender reassignment—see Gender reassignment, below, for further information

  4. marriage and civil partnership—see Practice Note: Marriage and civil partnership for further information

  5. pregnancy and maternity—see Practice Note: Pregnancy and maternity discrimination for further information

  6. race—see Race, below, for further information

  7. religion or belief—see Practice Note: Religion or belief for further information

  8. sex—see Sex, below, for further information

  9. sexual orientation—see Practice Note: Sexual orientation for further information


EqA 2010 has very little to say in the provision which provides definitions relating to the protected characteristic of age. All it tells us is that, in relation to the protected characteristic of age:

  1. any reference in the Act to a person who 'has a particular protected characteristic' means a person of a particular 'age group'

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