Advice and Guidance for Staff and Students on Discrimination

What does the law say about discrimination?

It is illegal to discriminate against people in the workplace and in Higher Education on the basis of:

  • Gender (including gender reassignment)
  • Race, Ethnic or National Origin, Colour or Nationality
  • Disability
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion or Belief
  • Age
  • Marriage & Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy & Maternity 

The legislation on sex discrimination applies to both men and women and also to people who undergo gender reassignment; the legislation on race discrimination applies to people whatever their ethnic background; the legislation on sexual orientation applies to people whatever their sexual orientation and the legislation on religion and belief applies to people whatever their religion or belief (or none). The legislation on sex, race and disability also applies to services (not just to employment, training and education).

You can find out more about what the law says on each of these issues on this website.

Vidcast on Direct & Indirect Discrimination & Discrimination by Association >

Direct and Indirect Discrimination

What is the University’s position on this?

The University’s Equality and Diversity Policy Statement makes it clear that the University:

aims to ensure through its admissions policies for students and its recruitment and selection processes for staff that it encourages applications from all groups represented in the wider community at a local, national and international level. The University will endeavour not to discriminate unfairly or illegally, directly or indirectly, against students or potential students, staff or potential staff. This commitment applies to all functions of the University and to any stage of an individual’s career at Aston.”

The University also has particular responsibilities for good equal opportunities practice that go further than non-discrimination. It has a positive duty to promote race, disability and gender equality. It also has a legal responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for staff and students with disabilities to ensure that they are not at a substantial disadvantage to those who are not disabled.

How do I know if I am acting in accordance with the law?

Staff and students have a responsibility to ensure that they do not discriminate unfairly or illegally against other members of the University Community. Sometimes people are not aware that their behaviour or actions are discriminatory or potentially discriminatory. However, ignorance is not a legal defence and we all need to make sure that we keep up to date with the law and good practice.

The University provides training and development for staff to ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities. If you are uncertain about any issues relating to equal opportunities or have any questions you can contact your HR Business Partner.

What can I do if I feel that I have been discriminated against or treated unfairly?

Discrimination can take many forms and what you choose to do about it may depend on how you feel you have been discriminated against and by whom. Generally, the earlier issues are dealt with the more easily they can be resolved and the less likely they are to have a detrimental impact on those concerned.

If you are a member of staff you should, where possible, speak to your manager about your concerns. If you are a student you should, where possible, speak to your Personal Tutor. 

Last updated on July 2012