Discrimination at Work

Your right to equal treatment

The Equality Act 2010 states that employees and workers have a right not to be discriminated against because of a protected characteristic. There are nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership. We know though that Equity members can face discrimination in the performing arts industry.

Speak to Equity if you experience discrimination

Contact Equity as soon as possible if you think you have been discriminated against. We'll talk to you confidentially, provide advice and will only take action with your consent. Speak to the Official for your sector - you can find their details on our contact page - or if you're not sure who to speak to call 020 7379 6000. 

“I reached out to Equity during my pregnancy and I was taken aback by the level of support they offered.” 
Mona, actress and new mum

In this video, Equity's Equalities and Diversity Officer Ian Manborde outlines your basic rights at work:

Hello, my name is Ian Manborde, and I'm Equity's Equalities and Diversity Officer. And part of my role is help ensure that Equity members experience fair equal treatment in work, and in their experience of getting work.

We know though that our members experience abusive behavior and discrimination across the entertainment industry. So in this short video, we want to introduce you to your basic rights, that should protect you from discrimination, and the Equality Act.

But we have to emphasise also, that you seek advice from Equity at the earliest opportunity, whenever you feel you've experienced mistreatment, or discriminatory behavior.

In the Equality Act, it identifies that where workers or employees have one or more of nine protected characteristics, they should be protected from discrimination. These protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and married and civil partnership. On the Equity website, you can find out more information about the protected characteristics and how they relate to you.

Broadly speaking, when we talk about discrimination, what we mean is that were it not for the protected characteristic, you may have been treated differently. So for example, as an Equity member who's Deaf or disabled, you may not have had the same opportunity to access work as somebody without a disability.

That is why you must always seek advice from Equity as soon as you experienced discrimination when you feel that you have. We will talk to you on a wholly confidential basis to gather information, and will only take a course of action that you're aware of and agree to. We do not act without your concern. You can find out more details about Equity staff and who's the right person to speak to on the contact page of the Equity website.

As your union, we're here to advise you and support you whenever you need us. Thank you.

Protected characteristics

You can find out more about each of the nine protected characteristics on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website:  

Equality law and work

We've put together guidance on issues often affecting people in the performing arts to help you understand your rights and stay safe:

Useful guides

Equity guides and best practice designed to help you challenge unfair treatment at work: