Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

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Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

The Equality Act 2010 codified the previous legislation which formed the basis of anti-discrimination law in England and Wales, including the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. The Equality Act 2010 mirrors the goals of the four main European Union (EU) Equal Treatment Directives. The Equality Act 2010 requires treatment to be equal in:

  • Employment and training
  • Recruitment and selection
  • Promotion
  • Pay and benefits
  • Redundancy and dismissal
  • Terms and conditions of work.

The Equal Pay Act 1970 gives individuals the right to be paid the same wage as member of the opposite sex who works for the same company. If you feel this is not the case you would need to compare yourself to a member of the opposite sex who works within the same company and show that either:

  • You are doing like work
  • You are doing work which has been rated as equivalent to the other’s by a job evaluation study
  • are doing work which is of equal value to that of the other person

If these can be shown you may be able to complain or make a claim to the employment tribunal.

On occasion an employer is allowed to treat your less favourably than a member of the opposite sex, if they can show that it is necessary for the employee to be a particular sex to do a certain job; this is called an occupational requirement and is not classed as discrimination, for example a position working with female victims of domestic violence.

It may also be possible for employers recruiting for positions within an organised religion to only employ one particular sex.

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