There are four main types of sexual orientation discrimination.
This happens when someone treats you worse than another person in a similar situation because of your sexual orientation. For example:
- at a job interview, a woman makes a reference to her girlfriend. The employer decides not to offer her the job, even though she is the best candidate they have interviewed
- a hotel owner refuses to provide a double bedroom to two men
Indirect discrimination happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that applies to everyone but which puts people of your sexual orientation at a disadvantage.
Indirect discrimination can be permitted if the organisation or employer is able to show that there is a good reason for the policy. This is known as objective justification.
Harassment in the workplace occurs when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded. For example:
- colleagues keep greeting a male worker by the feminine version of his name although he has asked them to use his proper name. The colleagues say this is just banter but the worker is upset and offended by it
Harassment can never be justified. However, if an organisation or employer can show it did everything it could to prevent people who work for it from behaving like that, you will not be able to make a claim for harassment against it, although you could make a claim against the harasser.
Outside the workplace, if you are harassed or receive offensive treatment because of your sexual orientation, this may be direct discrimination.
This is when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint of sexual orientation related discrimination under the Equality Act. It can also occur if you are supporting someone who has made a complaint of sexual orientation related discrimination under the Equality Act. For example:
- a gay worker complains that he has been 'outed' by his manager against his wishes and his employer sacks him