Equality and diversity

The Royal Agricultural University is committed to being a community in which equality of opportunity is a reality for all applicants, students, staff, prospective staff and the governing body. It aims to develop an inclusive culture, free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

You can read the University Policy and Procedures Relating To Inclusivity, Equality and Diversity here.

The Equality Act became law on 1 October 2010. It replaces previous equality legislation and is intended to strengthen equality law and to make it more transparent and easier to understand.

Equality Act 2010

The Act strengthens and extends protection to cover nine protected characteristics and is relevant to the University both as an employer and service provider.

What are protected characteristics?

Protected characteristics are the grounds upon which discrimination is unlawful. The protected characteristics defined under the Act are:

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

What does the Act prohibit?

Direct discrimination

Occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.

Discrimination based on association

This is direct discrimination against an individual because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.

Discrimination based on perception

This is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular characteristic.

Indirect discrimination

This can occur when there is a condition or rule, policy or practice that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic.


Unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating , hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. Individuals are also protected from harassment because of association and perception.

Third party harassment

Liability may exist for harassment of staff and students by third parties.


Occurs when an employee is treated badly because they have made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act or because they are suspected of doing so.

What is the Royal Agricultural University doing in response to the Equality Act?

As a public sector organisation, the University will have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under the Act;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;
  • Foster good relations between persons who share a protected characteristics and those who do not.

Our University takes these obligations very seriously and we have a range of initiatives that seek to meet them fully.

International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and / or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.