Whether you’re a student or a staff member, discrimination is never okay and is not tolerated at the University of Warwick. 

Discrimination is contrary to the Equality Act 2010 and the University of Warwick’s Principles and Dignity Policy. 

What is Discrimination? 


Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than someone else on the basis of a protected characteristic: 

  • Age 
  • Disability 
  • Sex 
  • Gender reassignment 
  • Race 
  • Religion or belief 
  • Sexual orientation. 
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy or maternity

There are three different forms of discrimination, which can occur separately or in conjunction with one another: 

Direct  – when someone is treated less favourably on the grounds that they are believed to have a protected characteristic. 

By association – discrimination due to someone’s relationship to a person with a protected characteristic. 

By perception – discrimination due to perception that they have a protected characteristic. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s definition for discrimination can be found here: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/what-discrimination 


Some scenario-based examples of discrimination include, but are not limited to:

  • 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 heterosexual student wishes to conduct their dissertation on a topic relating to LGBTUA+ equality.  A staff member refuses to supervise them in the belief that the student is gay. This is direct discrimination by perception.  

  • Ignoring an individual because they are perceived to have a protected characteristic when they do not, in fact, have the protected characteristic. 
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