See also ‘Indirect Discrimination’ and ‘Positive Discrimination’ – Discrimination is defined as less favourable treatment. An employee is said to be discriminated against if he/she is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the 9 grounds (race, gender, civil status, sexual orientation, religion, family status, age, disability or membership of the Traveller Community). To establish direct discrimination, a direct comparison must be made; for example, in the case of race status discrimination, the comparison could be between a person who is a non-national and another who is not.


Indirect discrimination is less obvious than direct discrimination and occurs when practices or policies that do not appear to discriminate against one group more than another actually have a discriminatory impact. It can also happen where a requirement that may appear non-discriminatory adversely affects a particular group or class of persons. Indirect discrimination can often occur during the recruitment process. For example, a requirement for a post could be that all applicants must be at least 5ft 10 inches in height. Such a requirement would have the indirect effect of precluding a large proportion of potential female applicants whereas there would be a lesser impact on male prospects.