Teacher notes: discrimination at work

Rights at work

Employers, managers and supervisors must treat all their workers, and anyone who applies for a job fairly. It is against the law to discriminate at work.

There are two types of discrimination:

  • Direct discrimination
  • Indirect discrimination

Direct discrimination happens when you are treated worse than someone else because of your race, age or any of the other attributes.


Indirect discrimination is often more difficult to identify. Sometimes, a policy, rule or practice seems fair because it applies to everyone equally, but if you take a closer look it shows that some people are being treated unfairly or are disadvantaged. This is because some people are unable to comply with the rule or they are disadvantaged because of it.

For example: You might work at a restaurant that wants you to wear a cap. It's not for hygiene reasons or for safety but just because that's the uniform. It doesn't appear to be discriminatory but it could be because people who have to wear a particular headdress (turban) for religious reasons may not be able to comply and wear the cap. This could be indirect based on your religion.


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