The ugliness of discrimination

Last night, the local news reported that a women had been turned away from a night club for being “too ugly”.  The club denied it but what if it were true?  Was it discrimination?

Protected Characteristics

Employers must not discriminate against the “protected characteristics”.  These are:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion and believe
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity leave

If our would-be clubber had a facial disfigurement, it may be classed as a disability.  If so, the club could find themselves in court.  I doubt that “ugliness” itself will ever be a protected characteristic.  Imagine a court trying to decide whether someone was legally “ugly” or not.


Types of Discrimination

No men required?

No men required?

Sometimes discrimination is easy to recognise.  Would a man get this job?

Sometimes, discrimination can happen without realising it.  This is called indirect discrimination.  It happens when:

  • you apply a term or condition;
  • that you cannot justify; and
  • it has a disproportionate effect on one or more of the groups with a protected characteristic.

For instance, firearms officers have regular shooting tests.  In 2014, two female officers were said to have performed badly in their tests.  Their jobs were put at risk. The officers claimed it was indirect sex discrimination.

The tests for men and women were the same.  So how did their employer discriminate?  Women have smaller hands and found the particular guns harder to handle.  They were given the same protective clothing, which they found too big and difficult to move in.  The tribunal found there was no reason why the women couldn’t be given smaller equipment.  They had suffered indirect discrimination.


Find out more

How to Employ Your First 20 People by Debbie Glinnan

How to Employ Your First 20 People by Debbie Glinnan

There are other different types of discrimination and I don’t have the space in my blog to go into too much detail about them all.

What every employer should know is that they can discriminate against someone even if they don’t employ them.  There is no limit on the compensation that a tribunal can award.   In “How to Employ Your First 20 People”, I explain in simple terms, what discrimination is and how to avoid it.  Don’t make a costly mistake.  Click here to find out how to order your copy.

Categories Discrimination, Interviewing, Uncategorized