Sex Discrimination Act 1975

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1975 c. 65


Sex Discrimination Act 1975

1975 CHAPTER 65

An Act to render unlawful certain kinds of sex discrimination and discrimination on the ground of marriage, and establish a Commission with the function of working towards the elimination of such discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity between men and women generally; and for related purposes.

[12th November 1975]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Discrimination to Which Act Applies

Part I

Discrimination to Which Act Applies

S-1 Sex discrimination against women.

1 Sex discrimination against women.

(1) A person discriminates against a woman in any circumstances relevant for the purposes of any provision of this Act if—

( a ) on the ground of her sex he treats her less favourably than he treats or would treat a man, or

( b ) he applies to her a requirement or condition which he applies or would apply equally to a man but—

(i) which is such that the proportion of women who can comply with it is considerably smaller than the proportion of men who can comply with it, and

(ii) which he cannot show to be justifiable irrespective of the sex of the person to whom it is applied, and

(iii) which is to her detriment because she cannot comply with it.

(2) If a person treats or would treat a man differently according to the man's marital status, his treatment of a woman is for the purposes of subsection (1)( a ) to be compared to his treatment of a man having the like marital status.

S-2 Sex discrimination against men.

2 Sex discrimination against men.

(1) Section 1, and the provisions of Parts II and III relating to sex discrimination against women, are to be read as applying equally to the treatment of men, and for that purpose shall have effect with such modifications as are requisite.

(2) In the application of subsection (1) no account shall be taken of special treatment afforded to women in connection with pregnancy or childbirth.

S-3 Discrimination against married persons inemployment field.

3 Discrimination against married persons inemployment field.

(1) A person discriminates against a married person of either sex in any circumstances relevant for the purposes of any provision of Part II if—

( a ) on the ground of his or her marital status he treats that person less favourably than he treats or would treat an unmarried person of the same sex, or

( b ) he applies to that person a requirement or condition which he applies or would apply equally to an unmarried person but—

(i) which is such that the proportion of married persons who can comply with it is considerably smaller than the proportion of unmarried persons of the same sex who can comply with it, and

(ii) which he cannot show to be justifiable irrespective of the marital status of the person to whom it is applied, and

(iii) which is to that person's detriment because he cannot comply with it.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a provision of Part II framed with reference to discrimination against women shall be treated as applying equally to the treatment of men, and for that purpose shall have effect with such modifications as are requisite.

S-4 Discrimination by way of victimisation.

4 Discrimination by way of victimisation.

(1) A person (‘the discriminator’) discriminates against another person (‘the person victimised’) in any circumstances relevant for the purposes of any provision of this Act if he treats the person victimised less favourably than in those circumstances he treats or would treat other persons, and does so by reason that the person victimised has—

( a ) brought proceedings against the discriminator or any other person under this Act or the Equal Pay Act 1970 , or

( b ) given evidence or information in connection with proceedings brought by any person against the discriminator or any other person under this Act or the Equal Pay Act 1970 , or

( c ) otherwise done anything under or by reference to this Act or the Equal Pay Act 1970 in relation to the discriminator or any other person, or

( d ) alleged that the discriminator or any other person has committed an act which (whether or not the allegation so states) would amount to a contravention of this Act or give rise to a claim under the Equal Pay Act 1970,

or by reason that the discriminator knows the person victimised intends to do any of those things, or suspects the person victimised has done, or intends to do, any of them.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to treatment of a person by reason of any allegation made by him if the allegation was false and not made in good faith.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), a provision of Part II or III framed with reference to discrimination against women shall be treated as applying equally to the treatment of men and for that purpose shall have effect with such modifications as are requisite.

S-5 Interpretation.

5 Interpretation.

(1) In this Act—

( a ) references to discrimination refer to any discrimination falling within sections 1 to 4; and

( b ) references to sex discrimination refer to any discrimination falling within section 1 or 2,

and related expressions shall be construed accordingly.

(2) In this Act—

‘woman’ includes a female of any age, and

‘man’ includes a male of any age.

(3) A comparison of the cases of persons of different sex or marital status under section 1(1) or 3(1) must be such that the relevant circumstances in the one case are the same, or not materially different, in the other.

II Discrimination in the Employment Field

Part II

Discrimination in the Employment Field

Discrimination by employers

Discrimination by employers

S-6 Discrimination against applicants and employees.

6 Discrimination against applicants and employees.

(1) It is unlawful for a person, in relation to employment by him at an establishment in Great Britain, to discriminate gainst a woman—

( a ) in the arrangements he makes for the purpose of determining who should be offered that employment, or

( b ) in the terms on which he offers her that employment, or

( c ) by refusing or deliberately omitting to offer her that employment.

(2) It is unlawful for a person, in the case of a woman employed by him at an establishment in Great Britain, to discriminate against her—

( a ) in the way he affords her access to opportunities for promotion, transfer or training, or to any other benefits, facilities or services, or by refusing or deliberately omitting to afford her access to them, or

( b ) by dismissing her, or subjecting her to any other detriment.

(3) Except in relation to discrimination falling within section 4, subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to employment—

( a ) for the purposes of a private household, or

( b ) where the number of persons employed by the employer, added to the number employed by any associated employers of his, does not exceed five (disregarding any persons employed for the purposes of a private household).

(4) Subsections (1)( b ) and (2) do not apply to provision in relation to death or retirement.

(5) Subject to section 8(3), subsection (1)( b ) does not apply to any provision for the payment of money which, if the woman in question were given the employment, would be included (directly or by reference to a collective agreement or otherwise) in the contract under which she was employed.

(6) Subsection (2) does not apply to benefits consisting of the payment of money when the provision of those benefits is regulated by the woman's contract of employment.

(7) Subsection (2) does not apply to benefits, facilities or services of any description if the employer is concerned with the provision (for payment or not) of benefits, facilities or services of that description to the public, or to a section of the public comprising the woman in question, unless—

( a ) that provision differs in a material respect from the provision of the benefits, facilities or services by the employer to his employees, or

( b ) the provision of the benefits, facilities or services to the woman in question is regulated by her contract of employment, or

( c ) the benefits, facilities or services relate to training.

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