The law provides protection against discrimination
a teenaged wheelchair user smiling for the camera

Discrimination or harassment of anyone because of their sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, sexual identity or disability is against the law.

Special educational needs and disability: The local offer

This page is suitable for all readers, but also part of the Oxfordshire Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Local Offer which collects together information, services and support for children and young people in Oxfordshire with special educational needs and disabilities and their families.

The law protects you from discrimination. It also requires you not to discriminate against others. Your place of learning or workplace has policies to support this.

Sex, sexual orientation, gender status & sexuality

Under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 it is unlawful to:

  • treat one sex more favourably than the other in work, training, education, adverts, housing, and providing goods and services
  • discriminate against a transsexual person in work or vocational training

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against someone because of their sexuality or sexual identity. Workers are protected from direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment.

Instant Expert: Find out more about what you can do if you have been discriminated against in the workplace.

Race & religion

Discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic origin, religion or lack of religion is unlawful.

Discrimination can be direct, for example nasty comments or refusing someone a promotion. 

But it can also be indirect, for example refusing time off for religious observance, or having dress codes that are against someone's cultural or religious beliefs.

Take Action: Anyone who sees discrimination at work can intervene to stop it from happening, as long as it is safe to do so. But you need to be fair to everyone. Find out more about race discrimination at work from ACAS.


It is against the law to discriminate against people because of their disability or health condition. This includes mental health conditions. 

Disabled people also have a legal right to help and services. This can include things like support from their local authority and reasonable adjustments from their place of study or work.

Experience: ‘I'm visually impaired and my advice to anybody with a disability is to know your rights. I've had problems at school. If you know you can do something you really have to push for it. Look [support group] came and made a good case, saying I needed everything on tape and proper help. They have expert knowledge so they can put forward a good argument. I managed to do 3 A2 levels and get into university. - Katherine, 18

When applying for a job, people must not be discriminated against because of their disability. Find out more about disability and working.

Your local offer belongs to you!

The Local Offer explains support available to children and young people with special educational needs and disability, and to their families. We hope you found this page helpful. If you would like anything changed, updated or added, please use this online form.

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