Sexual Orientation Discrimination occurs where a person is treated less favourably solely on the grounds of sexual orientation. This may be their own sexual orientation, their perceived sexual orientation (e.g. it may be assumed that someone is a gay man, when this is not actually the case, or the sexual orientation or assumed sexual orientation of a family member of that employee. This constitutes direct sexual orientation discrimination, examples of which may be stereotyping, and dismissing an employee solely for the reason of their sexual orientation.
Indirect sexual orientation discrimination occurs where an employee is placed at a disadvantage due to a provision, criteria or practice which applies to all members of staff, but places that individual (and others of that sexual orientation) at a disadvantage. An example of this would be if a brewery advertised for a husband and wife to take over the running of a public house, as this would immediately place gay couples at a disadvantage.
As with other types of discrimination, victimisation occurs if an employee was to be treated unfavourably simply because they had chosen to bring a claim for sexual orientation discrimination, had made a complaint, or had acted as a witness for someone who had made such a complaint.
It is harassment to subject an employee to unwanted or unwarranted conduct related to their sexual orientation, which could reasonably be considered to cause that employee offence.