Caste discrimination — the 10th protected characteristic?

There are currently nine protected characteristics: sex, gender reassignment, being married or in a civil partnership, being pregnant or on maternity leave, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief and age.

The definition of ‘race’ is non-exhaustive. The Equality Act 2010 states that race ‘includes… colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin’. It is therefore possible to argue that factors other than colour, nationality, ethnic origin and national origin are also covered by the legislation if they fall within the umbrella of ‘race’. However, the provisions of the act relating to race do not expressly prohibit discrimination against a person because of their caste.

Change is now looming and we are set to see the introduction of a 10th protected characteristic (that of caste) in 2015…

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