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when you treat someone unfairly or differently, just because they belong to a
particular group of people (because of his or her racial or ethnic origin, religion
or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation)

Direct discrimination definition: When a person is treated less well, in comparison

with someone else, because of his or her racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief,
disability, age or sexual orientation.

Examples of direct discrimination: a shop owner who refuses to hire suitably

qualified people simply because they are of a certain race or ethnic origin; or an
employer who specifies in a job advert that only young people should apply even
though the job in question could be done perfectly well by an older person


when you treat someone the same way as everyone else
but, doing this disadvantages more people from one group than other groups
and it is 'not reasonable in all circumstances' to do this.

Indirect discrimination definition: discrimination by means of rules, regulations or

procedures that may appear to be neutral, but which actually discriminates against
certain groups of people.

Indirect discrimination occurs where an employers policies or work practices are

the same for everyone but place a particular employee or group of employees at a

Otherwise, indirect discrimination will occur where a person imposes, or proposes to

impose, a requirement, condition or practice that has, or is likely to have, the effect of
disadvantaging people with a prote cted attribute, and that is not reasonable.

So, direct discrimination is treating people differently, directly because of their sex,
race and so on. And indirect discrimination is treating everyone the same, but
when this same treatment indirectly has an unfair effect on more people of a
particular group than people outside that group. Remember that it will only be indirect
discrimination if it is not reasonable in all the circumstances to treat everyone the
same way.

Examples of indirect discrimination:

An advertisement for a job as a cleaner requires an applicant to speak and read

English fluently. This may disadvantage a person on the basis of their race. The
requirement may not be reasonable if speaking and reading English fluently is
not necessary to perform the job.
A public building, while fitted with lifts, has a set of six steps at the front
entrance. Entry for those needing to use the lift is through the back entrance
near the industrial bins.
(Those using a wheelchair cant get into the building from the front entrance.)
Minimum height requirements apply for jobs in a resort, for no apparent
(People from an Asian background, or women, may not be able to meet the
Everyone entering a sporting venue has to present a drivers license as
identification, because it has a photo. (Some people with a disability, or young
people who cant drive, wont be able to get in.)
All information about workplace health and safety in a factory, is printed in
(Those whose first language isnt English may be at risk.)
A translation company insists that all those applying for jobs as translators have
driving licenses because there is an occasional need to deliver or collect work
from clients. Since this prevents some people with disabilities from applying and
as driving is not a core requirement for doing the job, the company is effectively
discriminating against this particular group of people, unless it can demonstrate
that there is an objective reason to justify this measure.
A department store prohibits its employees from wearing hats when serving
customers. This rule means that people whose religious beliefs require them to
cover their heads, such as Muslim women, are prevented from working in the
shop. The store is indirectly discriminating against this group of people unless it
can demonstrate that there is an objective reason to justify the policy.