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Indirect Discrimination, a post from Citizens Advice


Sometimes discrimination can be easy to spot - for example, if a hotel turns you away because you’re gay. This is called direct discrimination. This is when you’re treated differently simply because of who you are.


But there are other times when you may be treated in the same way as everybody else, but it has a different and worse effect on you because of who you are. This is also discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 calls this indirect discrimination.

Indirect Discrimination is when

• there’s a policy, practice or rule which applies to everybody in the same way

• it places people who share your protected characteristic at a disadvantage

• it places you personally at a disadvantage

• the person applying the policy, practice or rule can’t show there’s a good enough reason for it.


Who can be indirectly discriminated against? Something can be indirect discrimination if it has a worse effect on you because of your:

• age

• disability

• gender reassignment

• marriage or civil partnership

• pregnancy and maternity

• race

• religion or belief

• sex

• sexual orientation


The Equality Act calls these protected characteristics.


Examples: An organisation requires that all staff work on Sundays. This could indirectly discriminate against people of certain religions who cannot work on this day.

An employer introduces a new dress code. As part of the rules, they decide to prohibit cornrow hairstyles. This could amount to indirect race discrimination as it is more likely that these hairstyles will be worn by certain racial groups.


If you feel you are being discriminated against either directly or indirectly, or you are seeking advice on a problem you have, please contact us to see if we can help.


Call us on 0300 3309 064

Chat online: citizensadvice.org.uk/contact-us

Website: www.basingstokeandtadleycab.org.uk

Or search on the National Citizens advice website www.citizensadvice.org.uk


Nicola Dale


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