Equality Act 2010 Alan Christie Director of Policy Equality and Human Rights Commission
Equality Act Bingo!
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Where the Act refers to the protected characteristic of age it means a person belonging to a particular age group .
An age group includes persons of the same age and people of a particular range of ages
Replaces current provisions, but no substantive change
A person has a disability for the purposes of the Act if he or she: —
- has a physical or mental impairment , and
- the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Schedule 1 and Regulations on meaning of disability and provision of auxiliary aids etc
Definition replaces similar current provisions
Gender reassignment (s.7)
Where a person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.
Replaces similar current provisions, but no longer requires a person to be under medical supervision to come within it.
Race includes —
colour; nationality; ethnic or national origins.
Replaces similar provisions, but no substantive change.
But power to amend the definition to include caste.
Religion or belief (s.10)
Replaces similar current provisions
Covers any religion falling within Art 9 ECHR; must have clear structure and belief system
Covers philosophical beliefs which meet particular criteria
Includes a lack of belief/religion.
A ‘philosophical belief’ must not be incompatible with human dignity or conflict with fundamental rights of others [see EN 52]
Marriage/civil partnership (s.8)
A person has the protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership if the person is married or is a civil partner.
People who are not married or in a civil partnership do not have this characteristic – ie single people are not protected.
Replaces similar current provisions
The Act provides protection against sex discrimination for males and females of any age.
This is a new provision, but there is no change substantive change in the law.
Note that while pregnancy and maternity discrimination is a form of sex discrimination there are distinct provisions in ss17 and 18
Sexual orientation (s.12)
Sexual orientation means a person’s sexual orientation towards—
persons of the same sex,
persons of the opposite sex, or
persons of either sex.
Definition is designed to replicate the effect of similar current provisions.
Case studies –prohibited conduct
Work in small groups to find the answers to the questions
Be ready to explain your answers to the group
Indirect discrimination (s.19)
Where a policy or practice is applied (or would be applied) to everyone in the same way has an effect which particularly disadvantages people with a protected characteristic.
Where a group is disadvantaged in this way, a person is indirectly discriminated against if they are disadvantaged (or would be disadvantage), unless the person applying the policy can justify it.
Applies to all characteristics, except pregnancy and maternity.
NEW : indirect discrimination applies to disability and gender reassignment for the first time
Gender reassignment discrimination: absence from work (s.16)
It is unlawful discrimination for an employer to treat a transsexual person less favourably in relation to absence because of gender reassignment, than they would treat a person who is absent because of sickness or injury or for some other reason, and
it is not reasonable for that person to be treated less favourably.
Discrimination arising from disability (s.15)
Where a person is treated unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of his/her disability, and
It cannot be shown that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim .
Unless the employer or service provider etc can show that they did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that the person had the disability.
There are 3 types of prohibited harassment
Where a person engages in unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, and the conduct has the purpose or effect of:
violating the other person’s dignity, or
creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him/her.
2. Where a person engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, and the conduct has the purpose or effect referred to above.
3. Where a person engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or that is related to gender reassignment or sex,
the conduct has the purpose or effect described above (ie violating dignity, creating offensive environment etc) and
because of the other person’s rejection of or submission to the conduct, he or she is treated less favourably than if he or she had not rejected or submitted to the conduct.
Third party harassment (s.40)
An employer is liable for harassment if an employee is harassed by a third party (eg a customer) and the employer failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it.
This liability does not arise unless the employer knows of at least 2 other occasions when that employee has been harassed by a third party, though it need not be the same third party.
EN 148 – 149, page 38
It is victimisation to treat another person badly because they have done a ‘protected act’ - eg:
Brought proceedings under the Act
Given evidence or information in relation to Act
Taken part in a ‘protected pay discussion’ (see s.77(5))
No comparator is required for a victimisation claim.
See EN 103 - 106
You must reasonably think that a group of people who share a
protected characteristic and who are, or who could be, using
• suffer a disadvantage linked to that characteristic
• have a disproportionately low level of participation in this type of service or activity, or
• need different things from this service from other groups.
You can take action to:
meet the group’s different needs
enable or encourage the group to overcome or minimise that disadvantage, or
enable or encourage the group to participate in that activity.
treat members of a disadvantaged or under-represented group more favourably than other groups if the three conditions above do not apply or are not met.