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Glossary of Terms

TerminologyDescription or Example
Adverse impact Identified where a University operation has a less favourable effect on one or more groups covered by equality law than it has on other groups.
Where a victim of discrimination does not have a ‘protected characteristic’ but is discriminated against because of their association with someone who does e.g. the parent of a disabled child.
Dependants An employee’s spouse, child or parent, or anyone who lives in the same household (except employees, tenants, lodgers or boarders).
Differential impact Identified where a policy or practice affects a given group or groups in a different way to other groups. Unlike adverse impact, differential impact can be positive or negative.
Occurs where a person is treated less favourably on the grounds of being a member of a particular group than a person who is not from that group would be treated in the same or similar circumstances.

A person has a disability 'if they have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial (more than minor or trivial) and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'. An impairment is considered to have a long-term effect if:

  • it has lasted for at least 12 months;
  • it is likely to last for at least 12 months; or
  • it is likely to last for the rest of the life of the person

Normal day-to-day activities are general tasks done on a regular/daily basis, e.g. eating, washing, walking, reading, writing, talking etc.

Whether a person is disabled is generally determined by the effect the physical or mental impairment has on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities (the exception to this is people with severe disfigurement).

  • Physical impairment is a condition affecting the body, perhaps through sight or hearing loss, a mobility difficulty or a health condition.
  • Mental impairment is a condition affecting ‘mental functioning’, for example a learning disability or mental health condition such as manic depression.
  • Refer to Reasonable Adjustment
Diversity Diversity is about respecting and valuing the differences between people. It is also recognising and understanding the mix of people and communities who use services and their different needs.
Equal opportunities, or equality of opportunity, may be defined as ensuring that everyone is entitled to freedom from discrimination. There are two main types of equality encompassed in equal opportunities. The term has mostly been replaced by Equality and Diversity (E&D) in recent years.
Equality Equality is about fairness, and not discriminating against individuals or groups because of peoples’ backgrounds.
Equality Impact
Assessment (EIA)
A detailed and systematic analysis of how a policy, practice, procedure or service potentially or actually has differential impact on people of different ‘protected characteristics’.
Equality strands Different equality groups/communities in equal opportunities law, now replaced by the Single Equality Act (2010) - refer to ‘Protected Characteristics’.
Reassignment/ Identity
Process of transitioning from one gender to another (e.g. male to trans-female or female).
Harassment: Unwanted behaviour that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creates a degrading, humiliating, hostile, intimidating or offensive environment.
Refers to applying University operations that disadvantages people of different ‘protected characteristics’. Indirect discrimination is illegal if it cannot be justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
Marriage and
Civil partnership
Marriage is defined as a 'union between a man and a woman'. Same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognised as 'civil partnerships'. Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters. 
Applicant/employee treated less favourably because it is perceived that the applicant/employee has a protected characteristic. Even though the employer may be mistaken it is still discriminatory.
Pregnancy and
Maternity refers to the statutory period of after the birth, which reflects the period of a woman's ordinary maternity leave entitlement in the employment context.
Prejudice An adverse judgement, conviction or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts. It may be felt or expressed. It may be directed, without reason, toward a group or an individual of that group and may develop into an irrational suspicion or hatred.
Replaces the term ‘Equality Strands’. Gives legislative protection from discrimination to the following ‘protected characteristics’
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief (including non-belief)
  • Sex/Gender
  • Sexual Orientation 
Qualitative Data Information that is difficult to count measure or express in numerical terms (for example, feedback from focus groups or interviews). 
Quantitative Data Information that can be expressed in numerical terms, counted or compared on a scale (for example, monitoring data). 
Race Refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.
Where a disabled person is at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with people who are not disabled, there is a duty to take reasonable steps to remove that disadvantage by:
  • Changing provisions, criteria or practices
  • Altering, removing or providing a reasonable alternative means of avoiding physical features
  • Providing auxiliary aids
Religion and belief Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including non-belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.
Screening Involves identifying whether there is any risk that a policy or practice could result in adverse impact for people.
Sexual orientation A person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex; the opposite sex; or to both sexes.
Victimisation Subjecting a person to a detriment because they have done a protected act or there is a belief that they have done a protected act.