Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination occurs when men or women receive unequal pay or benefits, or when one group receives better jobs, better promotion prospects or treatment. UNISON campaigns for fairer pay and conditions for all workers, regardless of their gender.

Men and women have the right not to be discriminated against at work because of their gender.

Sex discrimination is one of the areas covered by the 2010 Equalities Act, which legislates against many forms of discrimination.

.The 2010 Equality Act aims to protect everyone’s rights in all areas of their lives.

It covers sex discrimination and the law defines four types of sexual discrimination:

  • direct discrimination – treating someone less favourably because of their gender;
  • harassment – unwanted behaviour related to a person’s gender or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, that has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person;
  • indirect discrimination – when an employer imposes a rule for men and women that puts either men or women at an unfair disadvantage;
  • victimisation – when you are treated less favourably than other people because you have complained about discrimination or supported someone who has.


There are many areas of potential conflict under the general heading of sex discrimination. These include issues around pregnancy and maternity, equal pay, family-friendly working, part-time working, relationships at work, recruitment, bullying and harassment, redundancy and even dress codes.