The Big Gap in Discrimination Law: Class and the Equality Act 2010

3(1) Oxford Human Rights Hub Journal 30

38 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2020

See all articles by Alex Benn

Alex Benn

University College, Oxford

Date Written: September 15, 2020


Discrimination law, around the world and particularly in the UK, has largely ignored discrimination based on class. This article makes two main arguments. There is a specific argument: UK lawmakers should amend the Equality Act 2010 to introduce class as a ‘protected characteristic’ because class is a basis for discrimination. This article considers and rebuts common arguments that class is too difficult to define. There is also a more general argument: academics in discrimination law often sideline analysis of class and classism. Classism tends to be euphemised as a system of ‘socio-economic disadvantage’ that is unrelated to discrimination. This article discusses why that view is wrong. Without paying attention to class and classism, the law will continue to ignore a major form of discrimination and to miss how classism intersects with other forms of discrimination.

Keywords: Class, Classism, Equality, Discrimination, Protected Grounds, Protected Characteristics, Equality Act

Suggested Citation

Benn, Alex, The Big Gap in Discrimination Law: Class and the Equality Act 2010 (September 15, 2020). 3(1) Oxford Human Rights Hub Journal 30, Available at SSRN:

Alex Benn (Contact Author)

University College, Oxford ( email )

High Street
Oxford, OX1 4BH
United Kingdom

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