The Protected Characteristics


The Equality Act 2010 protects people in nine protected characteristic groups from discrimination in the use of services and employment.

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Marriage, same-sex Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race- this includes ethnic or national origins, or nationality
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Direct discrimination – when a service or organisation treats an individual with a protected characteristic in a worse manner than they would treat an individual to whom that difference would not apply.

Indirect discrimination – when a service or organisation is designed or monitored in a way that delivers an inferior service to some people more than others.

Discrimination arising from a person having a protected characteristic – e.g. access to a building for a wheelchair user, lack of a hearing loop, easy read versions not available, literature not available in other languages, clinics for pregnant mums at school pick up time, etc.

Discrimination by association – when a person receives worse treatment because of a family member or someone they know or support.

Discrimination by perception – when a service organisation treats someone unfairly because they ‘think’ they are from a protected characteristic group, or are acting on hearsay without checking the facts.

Victimisation – when a service or organisation treats someone unfairly because they have complained, spoken up about an issue.

Harassment – picking on someone or upsetting them on purpose. Targeting the individual for specific unfair treatment is considered harassment.

Reasonable adjustment – changes that individuals and organisations must make to give a person who is at a disadvantage the same chance of success/access as anyone else using the service.  The same outcome for all is the purpose of this process.

Reasonable – something that is fair to the person and that an organisation or service is able to do.




equality at our trust protected characteristics Personal, Fair and Diverse News and events

Equality Committee and Reports

Read about the work of our Equality Committee including papers from meetings and our yearly report.

The protected characteristics

Find out more about each of the protected characteristics in equality legislation.


Personal, Fair and Diverse

We are proud to be an active partner in the NHS Employers Personal, Fair and Diverse Campaign (NHS PFD).


News and events

Find out more about events around our Trust and contact us with your views.