You are protected whether you are a man or a woman and if you have a gender recognition certificate. Discrimination because you are perceived as being of a sex, or because you associate with someone of a particular sex, will be unlawful. You are protected whether you are permanent, fixed-term, full-time, part-time, supply or agency.
Your colleagues, managers and governors are prohibited from discriminating against you. If you are an agency worker on a day-to-day or longer term contract, your agency and hirers for whom you are working are prohibited from discriminating against you.
What sex discrimination is
Treating you less favourably than another worker in similar circumstances on grounds of sex would be direct sex discrimination.
Applying to all staff a workplace policy or practice, that you and other workers of the same sex cannot comply with because of your sex, would be indirect sex discrimination if it puts you at a disadvantage, unless the employer can justify the impact of the policy or practice.
When you are protected from sex discrimination
You are protected from sex discrimination before, during and after your employment. There should be no unlawful discrimination in recruitment including advertisements, shortlisting and interview procedures; terms and conditions of employment; access to training; opportunities for promotion; transfers; dismissals; and after your employment has ended, for example, in the provision of references.
What is covered
Appointing a man, rather than a woman with superior qualifications and more experience, to the post of principal of a secondary school on the assumption that a woman would not have the gravitas to lead the school, would be direct discrimination; bias whether conscious or unconscious can lead to discriminatory decisions.
Refusing to appoint the best qualified applicant to a teaching post in an infant school, on the grounds that he is a man and that a woman would be preferred, and appointing instead a less qualified woman, could be sex discrimination.
An employer’s failure to treat an employee’s menopause in the same way as other medical conditions under its performance management policy could amount to direct sex discrimination.
An unreasonable refusal by a governing body to allow a woman to return to work part-time following maternity leave would be indirect sex discrimination, unless the employer could justify the decision or the impact of it on women in the school.
The Equality Act also imposes into all employment contracts a sex equality clause which states that women doing equal work with a man in the same employment are entitled to equal pay and contractual terms that are no less favourable than the man’s.
Subjecting a teacher to verbal or physical sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful.