Chris Brunt is a Gibraltar employment lawyer, a Barrister and Acting Solicitor who will consider all discrimination cases on a “no win no fee” basis.

In Gibraltar discrimination in the workplace is governed by the Equal Opportunities Act 2006. Discrimination can be a complex subject. in this post, I will attempt to distil the subject down to deal with some of the Equal Opportunities Act’s main issues concerning discrimination.

Discrimination includes treating a person with a ‘protected characteristic’ differently from others (i.e. unequally), and which can be unlawful if the ‘treatment’ is undertaken in a certain way.

So what are the protected characteristics? The Gibraltar Equal Opportunities Act describes the grounds and categories in section 3.

Meaning of equal opportunities grounds and categories.

3. (1) In this Act, except where otherwise provided, “equal opportunities
ground” means the grounds of–
(a) age or age group;
(b) disability;
(c) pregnancy or maternity leave;
(d) racial or ethnic origin;
(e) religion or belief;
(f) sex (including marital or family status);
(g) sexual orientation;
(h) victimization;
(i) gender reassignment.

(2) In this Act, except where otherwise provided, “equal opportunities
category” means persons–
(a) of a particular age or age group;
(b) with a disability;
(c) who are pregnant or on statutory maternity leave within the
meaning of section 7;
(d) of a particular racial or ethnic origin;
(e) of a particular religion or belief;
(f) of a particular sex (including persons of a particular marital or
family status);
(g) of a particular sexual orientation ;
Equal Opportunities
(h) who are proposing to undergo, are undergoing or have
undergone gender reassignment.

(3) In this Act
disability” – (a) means a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial
and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out
normal day-to-day activities;
(b) is further defined in Part I of Schedule 1;
“disabled person” means a person who–

(a) has a disability; or
(b) who has had a past disability, and Part II of Schedule 1 shall
apply in relation to such persons;

“gender reassignment” – means a process for the purpose of reassigning a person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex;

“racial group” – means a group of persons defined by reference to race,
ethnic or national origins, and reference to a person’s racial group
refers to any racial group into which he falls; the fact that a racial
group comprises two or more distinct racial groups does not prevent
it from constituting a racial group;

person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex;

“racial or ethnic grounds” – means a ground based on racial or ethnic

“religion or belief” – means any religion, religious belief or a similar
philosophical belief and includes a lack of religion or religious or
philosophical belief;

“sex” – includes marital or family status;

“sexual orientation”– means a sexual orientation towards–
(a) persons of the same sex;
(b) persons of the opposite sex; or
(c) persons of the same sex and of the opposite sex.
Equal Opportunities

transgender person” – means a person who forms part of the equal
opportunities category prescribed in subsection (2)(h) as evidenced
by a statement by a medical practitioner.

Interestingly, and perhaps confusingly, whilst Gibraltar’s Equal Opportunity Act at section 3 states that a “racial group” is an equal opportunities category which is defined by reference to “race, ethnic or national origins,” section 4 (2) of the Act states that the Act does not apply to any difference in treatment based on “nationality”

Section 4(2) This Act
(a) does not apply to any difference of treatment based on

Further posts, will discuss how depending on, an employer’s treatment of an employee with a protected characteristic, can lead to an uncapped discrimination award in the Gibraltar Employment Tribunal.

Chris is an Employment Law Barrister and Acting Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar who specialises in Employment Law.

Are you an employer looking to defend, or perhaps reduce your exposure to a discrimination claim? Or perhaps you are an employee who you feel is being discriminated against? Please contact me at Phillips Barristers and Solicitors at 292 Main Street, Gibraltar. Telephone (+350) 200 73900, or email me at for an informal discussion to see how I can assist you.

All employee cases are considered on a “no win no fee” basis.

All opinions are my own and are provided for information only and do not constitute legal advice. Please note that the information and any commentary on Gibraltar law contained in this article are provided free of charge for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but I do not accept responsibility for its accuracy and or for any consequences of relying on it. The information and commentary do not, and are not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal legal advice about your case or matter and not to rely on the information or comments on this site

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