Protected Characteristics

This page contains guidance on legal rights under the Equality Act 2010. Further information can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

Information about the equalilty and diversity statistics of our workforce can be found in our Workforce Equality Breakdown Report.

It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of:

•gender reassignment
•being married or in a civil partnership
•being pregnant or on maternity leave
•race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
•religion or belief
•sexual orientation

These are called protected characteristics.


It is unlawful for your age to be the cause of less favourable treatment in your workplace (ageism), when accessing services at the Trust or in vocational training. Many people think of ageism applies to older people but younger people are affected too. The Trust does not tolerate any form of ageism in the workplace and details the breakdown of staff by age in the workforce equality breakdown report.


A person has a disability if she or he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities (Equality and Human Rights Commission).

If you have a physical or mental impairment, you have specific rights that protect you against discrimination. As an employer and service provider we are obliged to make adjustments for you and have a policy and procedure in place to ensure this. As can be seen by our workforce monitoring data, the information on this particular protected characteristic is not robust enough to make any meaningful decisions. EPUT is also a Level 2 Disability Confident Employer, and puts measures in place to employ, support and retain those with disabilities, mental or physical health conditions

Gender reassignment

Gender reassignment is the process of transitioning from one gender to another.

We fully support and endorse the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s guidance on the provision of good, facilities and services to transgender people.

Marriage & civil partnership

Marriage is a union between a man and a woman or between a same-sex couple.

Same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as civil partnerships. Civil partners must not be treated less favourably than married couples (except where permitted by the Equality Act).

Pregnancy and maternity

Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.

Our workforce report details the number of staff taking maternity leave. Guidance on your rights during pregnancy and maternity leave.


The protected characteristic if race refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.

Wherever you were born, wherever your parents came from, whatever the colour of your skin, you have a right to be treated fairly.

Religion and Belief

Religion refers to any religion, including a lack of religion. Belief refers to any religious or philosophical belief and includes a lack of belief. Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition (Equality and Human Rights Commission).

Your religion or belief, or those of somebody else, should not interfere with your right to be treated fairly at work or while accessing one of our services.


Women and men should not be treated unfairly because of their sex, because they are married or because they are raising a family. We look at the breakdown of our workforce information by sex when recruitment and training decisions are analysed. You can also read our latest Gender Pay Gap Report.

Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation describes whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.

Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual, this should not put you at a disadvantage. Discrimination in the workplace, including harassment, on grounds of sexual orientation is unacceptable. We promote a tolerant and harmonious environment for both staff and patients and are always looking for new ways to support our members of LGBTQ+ staff.