401727 geo equality_law_rights_acc


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Circle Health Nottingham Oct 2012

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401727 geo equality_law_rights_acc

  1. 1. Equality act 2010:What do i nEEd toknoW? a summaryguidE to yourrightswww.adviceguide.org.uk
  2. 2. IntroductionAt the moment, there are several different laws to Get advice about the dates when the newprotect people from discrimination on grounds of: law comes in from your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or look on the Citizens• race Advice website at: www.adviceguide.org.uk.• sex• sexual orientation (whether being lesbian, gay, In this factsheet, we tell you about some of the most bisexual or heterosexual) important points in the Equality Act. However, this• disability (or because of something connected factsheet doesn’t cover all your rights. Get advice if with their disability) you think you’re being discriminated against, even if• religion or belief we don’t cover your situation here.• being a transsexual person (transsexuality is where someone has changed, is changing or has Get advice about all aspects of proposed changing their sex – called ‘gender discrimination law from your local Citizens reassignment’ in law) Advice Bureau, or look on the Citizens• having just had a baby or being pregnant Advice website at: www.adviceguide.org.uk.• being married or in a civil partnership (this applies only at work or if someone is being This factsheet applies to people in England, Wales trained for work), and and Scotland.• age (this applies only at work or if someone is being trained for work).The Equality Act 2010 simplifies the currentlaws and puts them all together in one piece oflegislation. Also, it makes the law stronger in someareas. So depending on your circumstances, the newAct may protect you more.Most of the Equality Act will start to apply inOctober 2010 and this guide covers the mainchanges coming into effect then. The Act alsocontains other changes. For example, if you’re over18, the Act contains a new law to protect you fromdiscrimination because of your age when you shopor use facilities like swimming pools or libraries. TheGovernment is looking at how the rest of the Actcan be implemented in the best way for business.It will make an announcement about this at a laterstage.2
  3. 3. If you’re disabledSimplifying the law If you’re discriminated against because you’re disabled, the new law could help you.At the moment it’s against the law to discriminateagainst you because of things like race or religion. For example, there will be a slightly different test ofDifferent laws cover these different issues. Until what ‘disability’ means. When the new law comes in,the new law comes into force, the old laws will it will be easier for someone to show that they havestill apply. difficulty carrying out their day-to-day activities, and therefore that they come under the definition ofWhen the new law comes in, all the law about ‘disabled person’ and are protected under the Act.discrimination will be in one place: the Equality Act2010. You’ll still be protected from things like racial Exampleor religious discrimination, as the new law will takeover from the old laws. You suffer from depression, so it’s very hard for you to make decisions or even to get up in the morning. You’re forgetfulWhere the law has been made and you can’t plan ahead. Together, thesestronger factors make it difficult for you to carry out day-to-day activities. You’ve hadHere are the main areas where the law has been several linked periods of depressionmade stronger from October 2010. Remember that over the last two years and the effectsnot all the changes in the Equality Act will start at of the depression are long-term.the same time. So if you think you might be covered So, for the purposes of the Equality Act,by the new law, you’ll need to get advice aboutwhether it has come in to force yet. you’re defined as a ‘disabled person’. Before the Equality Act, you mightGet advice about whether the law has comein to force yet from your local Citizens not have been able to get disabilityAdvice Bureau, or look on the Citizens discrimination protection.Advice website at: www.adviceguide.org.uk. 3
  4. 4. Another way the new law could help you if you aredisabled is that for the first time, the law protects Exampleyou from ‘indirect discrimination’. This is where a Because of your disability, you mightpolicy or practice is applied in the same way to need to take more leave from work thaneveryone, but it puts disabled people at a particulardisadvantage. However, it doesn’t count as indirect people you work with.Your employerdiscrimination if the person applying the policy can must not treat you unfavourably becausejustify it. you are off work, as long as it knows that you have a disability. However, yourExample employer may be able to justify anythingYour employer brings in a new shift it does, and if its action can be justifiedpattern which means that everyone then, it won’t be against the law.has to work fewer days, but longerdays. You have a disability that meansyou’re exhausted after two long days of Here are some more examples of how the Equality Act may help you if you’re disabled:working. So the new shift pattern putsyou and other people who have the • Employers will generally no longer be allowed to ask questions about health or disability beforesame disability as you at a disadvantage. they offer you a job or before they include youYour employer will have indirectly in a pool of people to be offered a job when adiscriminated against you if it can’t justify vacancy arises. However, they can ask you suchthe new shift pattern. questions if they have a good reason. (see the workplace guidance for more details).When the new law comes in, it will be easier for • If you’re at a substantial disadvantage whenyou to make a claim for discrimination that happens compared with someone who isn’t disabled,because of something connected with your disability. reasonable changes (‘adjustments’) mustIt will count as ‘unlawful discrimination’ if someone be made by your employer or by someonewho knows you are disabled treats you unfavourably providing goods or services. They may havebecause of something that results from your to change the way things are done, or makedisability, provided that treatment can’t be justified. changes to a building, or provide aids such as special computer software to help you do yourThis is called ‘discrimination arising from a disability’. job. Reasonable adjustments can also include providing information in an accessible format. The new law makes it clear that when receiving services you can’t be asked to pay the costs of making these reasonable adjustments.4
  5. 5. If you’re a woman being paid less than For more information, see the new factsheeta man Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know as a carer?If you’re a woman being paid less than a man whois doing the same sort of work, the new law might If you’re breastfeeding, pregnant or havehelp you. Your employer won’t be able to take just had a babyaction against you for talking to your colleagues or The new law makes it clear that it’s against the lawtrade union representatives about how much you for you to get less favourable treatment becauseget paid. you’re breastfeeding when receiving services. However, there is no right to breastfeed at work.This change may help you to find out if you mightbe able to make a claim for equal pay. ExampleIf you’re a carer It is against the law for the manager ofIf you look after someone who is elderly or disabled, a cafe to ask you to stop breastfeedingyou’re already protected from being discriminated or do it somewhere more private, or toagainst at work because of your association with leave because you’re breastfeeding.the person you care for. The new law will make thisprotection clearer. In addition, direct discriminationand harassment because you care for a disabled In addition, you shouldn’t be discriminated against atperson will be banned when: school because you’re pregnant or have just had a baby.• you’re shopping for goods or services• you use facilities like public libraries or cafes, and• you use services like public transport.ExampleYou care for your disabled sister andyou try to go a nightclub with her. Theyrefuse to let you in because they saydisabled people aren’t good for theirimage. Your sister may have a claim ofdisability discrimination and, when thenew law comes in, you may also have aclaim of direct discrimination because ofyour association with her as her carer. 5
  6. 6. If you’re a transsexual person ExampleThe new law could help you if: You belong to a club that lets members• you’ve changed your sex• you’re in the process of changing your sex, or bring partners to certain social events.• you have simply told someone that you are It will be against the law for it to refuse planning to change your sex. entry to your partner because they are a transsexual.Under the new law, you’ll no longer have to beunder medical supervision to be protected fromdiscrimination and harassment. You mustn’t be Positive actiondiscriminated against or harassed at school or by ‘Positive action’ is when something is donesomeone exercising a public function, such as policing, specifically to help someone who has a protectedbecause you’ve started the process of changing characteristic. There are several different reasonsyour sex. You’ll also be protected from direct why it may be appropriate to take some sortdiscrimination as a result of being associated with of positive action, for instance if someone issomeone who is transsexual, for example if you’re suffering some kind of disadvantage linked to thattheir partner; or if you are discriminated against by characteristic, or if they have particular needs,someone because they think you are a transsexual, or if people with that characteristic are under-even if you aren’t. In addition, you’ll also be protected represented in an activity or a type of work.from indirect discrimination, where a rule, policy orpractice particularly disadvantages transsexual people One form of positive action is encouraging orand can’t be justified, and from discrimination as a training people to apply for jobs or take part in anguest or member in a private club. activity in which people with that characteristic are under-represented. This may be done by meansClubs of training courses, mentoring schemes or evenClubs with 25 or more members who select their open days or other events to show people what amembers, such as golf clubs, won’t be allowed particular job or activity is really like.to discriminate against their members or guests.The law already protects you from discrimination Another type of positive action is where someoneby these clubs on grounds of your sexuality, providing goods or services targets a group whoyour disability and your race. But when the new share a protected characteristic because they havelaw comes in, you’ll also be protected from particular needs linked to that characteristic.discrimination on grounds of your sex, your religionor belief, the fact that you’ve just had a baby or are The new law makes it easier for employers andpregnant, or the fact that you’re a transsexual. The service providers to take positive action. However,new law doesn’t stop clubs for people who share taking any form of positive action is entirelya protected characteristic – for example women- voluntary and people don’t have to consider doingonly and men-only clubs and social clubs for Turkish it if they don’t want to.people.6
  7. 7. If you’re being harassedHarassment is behaviour which hurts a person’s Taking action aboutpride, or which is offensive. The new law makes it discriminationclear that you will be protected if you are harassedbecause you associate with someone who has a Employment tribunalsprotected characteristic or because someone thinksyou have a protected characteristic, for example If you have a problem of discrimination at workif you are harassed because your son is gay, or and you can’t sort it out with your employer, youbecause someone wrongly thinks you are a Muslim. can take action at an employment tribunal. If youHarassment may be deliberate but it doesn’t have win your case you could get compensation, or theto be. Someone could be harassing you even if they employment tribunal could recommend that yourdon’t mean to or don’t realise they are doing so. employer stops discriminating against you. If you’ve been sacked because of discrimination, the tribunalThe law already protects people from harassment at may recommend that your employer allows youwork and some people from harassment when they back to work. Be careful not to miss the deadlinesare buying goods or receiving services. The new for going to an employment tribunal.law will also protect you from harassment relatedto disability when you’re buying goods or receiving Get advice about these deadlines fromservices. your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or look on the Citizens Advice website at:This new law on harassment will not protect you www.adviceguide.org.uk.when you’re buying goods or receiving servicesif the offensive behaviour is related to religion or Employment tribunals have been given extrabelief or to sexual orientation. But other parts of powers under the new law. They will be able tothe new law relating to direct discrimination could make recommendations in discrimination casesprotect you instead. which benefit other people who work for the employer, as well as the person who made the claim.If you’re harassed at work, the new law will meanthat your employer will be held responsible it:• they know that you have been harassed repeatedly by someone like a customer or a client, and• they do nothing reasonable to stop it happening again. 7
  8. 8. County court claims in England and Walesand sheriff court claims in Scotland Find out more about theIf you’ve been discriminated against when buying Equality Act 2010goods or getting services, you may be able to makea claim in the county court in England and Wales or Other new leafletsthe sheriff court in Scotland. ‘Equality 2010: What do I need to know as a carer?’An expert in discrimination may help the judge to ‘Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know as ahear the case, and. you could get legal aid. If you win customer?’your case, you may get compensation and whoeverdiscriminated against you may be ordered to stop Other informationdoing so. Age UK: www.ageuk.org.ukBe careful not to miss the deadlines. Carers UK: www.carersuk.orgGet advice about these deadlines and about Directgov: www.direct.gov.uklegal aid from your local Citizens AdviceBureau or look on the Citizens Advice Equality and Human Rights Commission:website at: www.adviceguide.org.uk. www.equalityhumanrights.com Government Equalities Office website: www.equalities.gov.uk You can also visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau.© Crown copyright 2010JN401727July 2010