Discrimination means treating someone unfairly because of who they are. The University of Birmingham believes that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, and that those who choose to work, study or visit here should not be subjected to discrimination of any kind.
The Equality Act 2010 protects all of us from discrimination on the grounds of nine protected characteristics:
  • Age (all ages and age groups)
  • Disability (physical and mental impairments)
  • Gender reassignment (people who have, are, or intend to undergo a gender reassignment process)
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race (including ethnic or national origin, colour and nationality)
  • Religion or belief (religious belief systems, non-religious belief systems and non-belief)
  • Sex (women and men)
  • Sexual orientation (people of all sexual orientations)
Discrimination occurs when an individual or a group of people are treated less favourably than others based on any of the protected characteristic listed above. 

Types of Discrimination

Direct Discrimination: this occurs when a person is treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic, compared to how someone without that characteristic would be treated. This includes discrimination based on association (i.e. because of a protected characteristic of someone they are associated with, such as a partner or child), and discrimination based on perception (where someone is seen to have a particular protected characteristic, even if this is not the case). 
Indirect discrimination: this is when there’s a practice, policy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but it has a worse effect on some people than others. This could be a one-off decision or a decision to do something in the future. It includes things like arrangements, criteria, conditions, qualifications or provisions. What’s important is that it applies to everyone in the same way, that it’s neutral, however it has a more detrimental effect on some people than others. 
Harassment: this is defined as unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for a person, or of violating their dignity. (Please visit our Harassment page for more information)
Victimisation: this occurs when a person is treated less favourably because they have asserted their legal rights under the Equality Act or have supported someone else who has done so.
In addition, failing to make reasonable adjustments and discrimination arising from a disability are specific forms of disability-related discrimination.

Both national government and The Equality and Human Rights Commission provide more detailed definitions and examples of discrimination as well as further information.

If you are a student, find out what report and support options are available to you at the University of Birmingham.
If you are a member of staff and want to talk to someone about discrimination, please make a report

There are two ways you can tell us what happened