This guidance deals with discrimination in the workplace. It looks at your rights as an employee or worker and, the steps you can take if you feel you are being treated unfairly or may be the victim of unlawful discrimination. The RCN also has a range of resources on equality, inclusion and human rights, that may be of assistance.
The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) applies in England, Scotland and Wales. The Equality Act 2010 was not enacted in Northern Ireland and the further information section below explains this further.
The Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of what are termed “protected characteristics” which are listed below:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation.
Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of a protected characteristic. The Act covers the whole spectrum of employment including recruitment, training, promotion, terms and conditions, redundancy, discipline and dismissal. Individuals are protected from discrimination in a number of contexts including employment, access to goods and services, education and housing.
The principles also apply to ‘workers’ in general (rather than simply ‘employees’) meaning that you are protected from discrimination if you are a bank or agency worker.
RCN Nursing Workforce Standards
The RCN Nursing Workforce Standards are designed to support a safe and effective nursing workforce alongside each nation’s legislation. They include guidance on workforce planning and rostering, as well as staff health, safety and wellbeing. Standards 12 states that the nursing workforce should be treated with dignity, respect, and enabled to raise concerns without fear of detriment, and to have these concerns responded to.