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Discrimination & equality

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Everyone should be treated with respect and receive fair treatment at work but too often, we can experience discrimination and prejudice. 

By law, you must not be discriminated against based on age, sex, disability. race, religion and belief, sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, or gender reassignment. These are the 'protected characteristics' under the Equality Act 2010 in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland does not have a single equality act but its laws give similar protections. 

Your employer has many other duties enshrined in law, including the Public Sector Equality Duty (England, Scotland and Wales) and Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act in Northern Ireland. 

Advice and support

If you feel you are being treated differently due to one or more of the protected characteristics, it's important to contact your national officer for early advice. They can advise you about your rights under internal policies and procedures and make sure that time limits for the Employment Tribunal claims are taken into account. Although not all cases will end up at an Employment Tribunal, the time limit for lodgingclaims is three months less one day from the act of discrimination. 

Your national officer can help you with key early steps such as collecting and saving evidence, securing witnesses and dealing with this stressful situation through internal procedures with your help from your union. The impact of being discriminated against is incredibly hard to deal with alone, so talking to your national officer at the earliest opportunity will help you to prepare your case and give you that much-needed support.  

Exploring the issues

MiP regularly publishes articles on diversity and equality issues  – you can read the latest ones below. These are designed to raise public awareness of the issues around equalities in health and social care delivery, both for staff and patients; to illustrate and explore the kinds of problems that staff can face, providing guidance on how to react; and to push policymakers and employers towards reforms that will help tackle the problem.

We also play an active role in forums and organisations that work to improve the quality of advice and information on equalities issues – including the NHS Leadership Academy and the Health & Social Care BME Network. You can read more about our committment to equality and diversity, and our campaigning and policy-making work on our Equality and Diversity page.  If you'd like to get involved in our work on equality, please contact MiP head office.

Baby close up with toy in mouth

With constant upheaval in the health service, new mothers working for the NHS are often anxious about going back to work. Jo Seery explains the rights women have when returning after maternity leave.

30 January 2024 | By Jo Seery
Legal Eye
Woman at desk being touched by male colleague

Sexual harassment is against the law, but that doesn’t stop it happening. Josie Irwin offers her tips on recognising sexual harassment in the workplace and how to intervene effectively as a manager.

26 October 2023 | By Josie Irwin
Blind managers standing outside corporate offices

Despite recent advances, many disabled NHS managers still face multiple disadvantages at work. Understanding and commitment from line managers and local leaders is the key to further progress, writes Jessica Bradley

13 October 2023 | By Jessica Bradley
Sign in desert indicating dangerous bends for 4 miles

Disabled managers often feel more at risk of losing their jobs during organisational change, despite legal protection under equality legislation. Jo Seery looks at the obligations on employers and explains what to do if you’ve been treated unfairly.

06 October 2023 | By Jo Seery
Legal Eye
Flock of migrant birds flying in V-formation

Workers from overseas have been part of the health and care family since the NHS began. They are valued and respected colleagues who face many extra challenges in the workplace and beyond. Katia Widlak offers her tips on recruiting, supporting, and retaining your migrant workforce.

27 July 2023 | By Katia Widlak
Black hand and white hand reaching out to each other

Latest figures show black and minority ethnic staff in the NHS are still denied the same opportunities for promotion and career development as white colleagues. We investigate why a public service that’s more diverse than ever before is still failing to root out race discrimination.

25 July 2023 | By Craig Ryan
Woman's hand drawing heart on wet glass

Domestic abuse blights the lives thousands of NHS staff every year, writes Craig Ryan. But work can be an important refuge and source of strength for survivors, and good support from managers and employers can be a lifeline.

03 April 2023 | By Craig Ryan
Rita Gupta 2022 thumb

Meet Your Reps: As a manager and union rep, Rita Gupta wants to change people’s lives, not just tick boxes. She tells us about her determination to make a difference for patients and MiP members.

02 February 2023 | By Craig Ryan
MiP at work

Sir Gordon Messenger's review of management and leadership in health and social care could pave the way to better career management, more effective training and development and wider opportunities for managers. Sir Gordon talks to MiP’s Jon Restell about the review and what it means for MiP members.

03 August 2022 | By MiP

NHS Confed survey finds racism deters 60% of ethnic minority leaders from recommending NHS management careers, with racist abuse and discrimination most likely to come from colleagues.

22 June 2022 | By MiP
Joining the Scottish health department weeks before the pandemic struck, Caroline Lamb found herself head of NHS Scotland within a year. She talks about the “intense and scary” experience of managing through the Covid crisis, her plans to integrate services and tackle staff shortages and why Scotland needs more money for health and care.
12th Apr 2024
By Matt Ross
MiP campaigns on equalities issues in health and care, and is closely involved in policy development with NHS and union bodies
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