Aston University promotes and supports equality, diversity and inclusion for both students and staff. We have zero tolerance for any forms of hatred and systemic injustice and are committed to justice for all those impacted by racism and discrimination.
This includes adhering to the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 which provides the legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. One of our fundamental duties under the Equality Act is to eliminate discrimination.
What is discrimination?
The Act uses the term ‘protected characteristic’ to describe a group that is likely to be disadvantaged in some way. The relevant protected characteristics are age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnerships; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. Discrimination occurs when an individual or a group of people are treated less favourably than others based on a protected characteristic The Act sets out three types of unlawful discrimination: direct discrimination, indirect discrimination and discrimination arising from a disability.
Both national government and The Equality and Human Rights Commission provides more detailed definitions for discrimination and further information.
Some possible examples of discrimination:
A prospective student applies to study Law at a university and attends an interview at the campus. During the interview, the student discloses to the interviewer that they have a disability and because of this, the prospective student is not awarded a place on the course. This would be an example of direct discrimination.
A manager disciplines an employee because they have to take time off to care for their disabled child. Other staff who have had similar amounts of time off work are not disciplined. This could be direct discrimination by association under the protected characteristic of disability.
A course coordinator at a university does not offer a placement at a faith school to a student on a teaching course because they think he is gay and are worried that the school will be ‘uncomfortable’ with a gay student. Despite the fact that the student is not gay, this could still be direct discrimination by perception.
A university requires applicants from the UK to have three A levels but requires overseas applicants to have four A levels - this could be indirect race discrimination.
A student has been diagnosed with ADHD and due to this asks a lot of questions. They are then banned by their tutor from asking questions in lectures. This could be discrimination arising from disability.