Protected Characteristics 101 | a recap and recent developments

It’s against the law to discriminate against an employee on the basis of a protected characteristic such as sex, race or disability. But with case law constantly redefining what’s capable of protection, it can be hard to keep up to speed. This can result in mishandled situations and potentially costly claims.

Join us as we take a deep dive into the protected categories of workers, shine a spotlight on recent developments regarding long COVID and menopause, and share examples to help you handle common employee issues without falling foul of the Equality Act 2010, including remote working requests, inappropriate banter, flirtatious behaviour, and long-term absence due to medical capability.

18 August at 2.00 pm

On 28 July, MPs called for the menopause to be made a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. Should this come to fruition, employers will have a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for all menopausal employees, regardless of whether their symptoms are significant enough to amount to a disability.

Added to this, in the last few months, we’ve learned that long COVID can also – in certain circumstances – amount to a disability, granting those with the syndrome legal protection from discrimination at work. In fact, at WorkNest, we’re seeing a general increase in calls regarding long COVID. This may, in part, be because situations involving employees with medical conditions take some time to play out, and we are now at that critical point where employers are realising that things cannot go on forever.

So, with case law moving the goalposts, what newer developments and Tribunal decisions could catch employers out? And what are the nine protected characteristics that employers must be mindful of when managing any employee matter?

Plus, with employers often nervous to take action where a protected characteristic is involved, how should you manage employees without feeling like you’re treading on eggshells? And what are the potential consequences of getting it wrong?

In our upcoming 45-minute webinar, WorkNest’s Employment Law Adviser and Solicitor, Kirstie Beattie, will help your organisation to avoid legal risk by walking you through:

  • The nine protected characteristics employers need to know about
  • The most common types of discrimination claims (sex, race and disability) and potential new areas that could pose a claims risk
  • Example cases: testing YOUR knowledge through scenario-based examples before taking you through the best approach
  • What’s coming next: shining a spotlight on contentious areas such as the menopause and obesity

We’ll also be taking your questions, so if you have a query regarding any of the protected characteristics or a specific scenario you would like expert guidance on, please provide a brief overview via the registration form so that our host can give it some thought prior to the session.

Please bear in mind we only have a limited time available but will endeavour to address as many submissions as we can. Any queries that our host doesn’t have time to answer live will be covered in an FAQ document following the session.

Register below

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion training

Encouraging greater awareness and understanding of the different protected characteristics through Equality, Diversity & Inclusion training can reduce the potential for complaints, disciplinary action or an Employment Tribunal claim, as well as avoid the cost and disruption to the organisation.

As part of our in-person and e-Learning courses you will learn about:

  • The Equality Act 2010 and protected characteristics
  • Types of discrimination, including direct, indirect, harassment and victimisation
  • How to treat others with respect and offer everyone fair access to opportunities

Better with WorkNest

Protecting organisations 
and achieving results

Owing to our unrivalled support and expertise, we’re consistently high achievers when it comes to protecting organisations and achieving results.


More solicitors

We have six times the number of qualified solicitors, practising for over five years, than any of our larger competitors. We’re also recognised by the Legal 500.


Tribunal win rate

With a dedicated adviser in your corner to guide you through the process, you’re over eight times more likely to defeat a Tribunal claim if advised by WorkNest.


Years' experience

Our Health & Safety Team has over 350 years’ combined experience of supporting organisations with their compliance, so you can be sure you’re in safe hands.


Less risk

Our advice, support and safety management systems can reduce the risk of prosecution by 50% and cut the cost of any fine imposed by more than 85%.

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Proud to support over 
40,000 UK employers

Our clients range from small businesses with fewer than 50 staff at a single location, through to large household names employing thousands of people at multiple sites across the UK. Whatever your size or sector, we have solutions to suit your needs.

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