The Equality Act: Shouldn't 'geek' be a protected characteristic? (Tim Medcalf)


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A tongue-in-cheek look at how discrimination law is changing and how software suppliers may need to be aware of it when designing applications or bidding for work.

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The Equality Act: Shouldn't 'geek' be a protected characteristic? (Tim Medcalf)

  1. 1. Equality Act 2010 Shouldn't geek be a protected characteristic? Tim Medcalf
  2. 2. <ul><li>New anti-discrimination law </li></ul><ul><li>Replaces 9 separate pieces of legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Defines “protected characteristics” </li></ul>Equality Act 2010
  3. 3. What is protected? <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnicity </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Disability </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marriage/Civil Partnership </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gender Reassignment </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pregnancy/Maternity </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual orientation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Religion or Belief </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Religion or Belief <ul><li>“ A belief need not include faith or worship of a god or gods, but must affect how a person lives their life or perceives the world” </li></ul><ul><li>-Equality and Human Rights Commission </li></ul><ul><li>Religion </li></ul><ul><li>| </li></ul><ul><li>Faith </li></ul><ul><li>| </li></ul><ul><li>Belief </li></ul><ul><li>| </li></ul><ul><li>Spirituality </li></ul><ul><li>| </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>| </li></ul><ul><li>Lifestyle? </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ A person who is a vegan chooses not to use or consume animal products of any kind. That person eschews the exploitation of animals for food, clothing, accessories or any other purpose and does so out of an ethical commitment to animal welfare.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Equality and Human Rights Commission, Code of Practice </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Vegan
  6. 6. Jedi <ul><li>  </li></ul>Daniel Jones (a.k.a. Master Morda Hehol) Founder, Church of Jediism Source: North Wales Chronicle
  7. 7. <ul><li>Protection of such wide and far-reaching criteria can actually conflict with a person's freedom to live the way they want. </li></ul>Protection/Discrimination
  8. 8. Religious Freedoms <ul><li>  </li></ul>“ wtf. teh act iz discriminating against ma rightness 2 not employ dem wot aint cafflik. kthxbai.” (paraphrased heavily)
  9. 9. Fear of discriminating... <ul><li>Job Centre Advert: </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;...very reliable and hard-working.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>The job centre was worried that would discriminate against unreliable people. </li></ul>
  10. 10. So why not geek? <ul><li>“ You geek!” </li></ul>Copyright: Simpsons/Fox/Matt Goening
  11. 11. Stereotype! A lack of understanding can often be the cause of discrimination Stereotypes are often used in place of true understanding
  12. 12. Geek = Lifestyle <ul><li>So, the next time someone... </li></ul><ul><li>won't support you for using linux </li></ul><ul><li>scorns your use of twitter </li></ul><ul><li>sniggers at your fine collection of regexp t-shirts </li></ul><ul><li>Rise Up! </li></ul>
  13. 13. Wherever you worship...
  14. 14. Equality: The serious bit... <ul><li>As software developers and designers, you may need to think about different protected characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>We're all aware of W3C accessibility guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>...but are you ready for equality guidelines? </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  15. 15. &quot;Framework for Fairer Future&quot; - Examples <ul><li>Suggested ways of thinking about equality: </li></ul><ul><li>“ A police authority developing an emergency mobile phone text service, and incorporating sign language video clips on its web site to meet the needs of Deaf people.” </li></ul>
  16. 16.   <ul><ul><li>Procurement guidelines encourage the use of suppliers with the best equality statistics and processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples include male/female split and representation of diversities such as disability and ethnicity </li></ul></ul>Equality Act: Public Sector
  17. 17.   <ul><ul><li>Government can control public sector easier, but they are looking at private sector too  (e.g. gender pay gap reporting) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large corporates are already looking at equality as part of Corporate Social Responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One large retailer is already asking suppliers for proof of their equality credentials </li></ul></ul>Equality Act: Private Sector
  18. 18.   <ul><ul><li>Be mindful of equality when designing software or bidding for work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> could be a differentiator </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>How does it affect you?
  19. 19. Think of the Vegan Jedi <ul><ul><li>Think how different people are affected by using your website and applications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will they have to take their hood down to read all the text or hear the sounds? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MeetUp? MEAT???  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>TofuUp! </li></ul>
  21. 21. Thank you... <ul><li>My apologies to... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>anyone offended by anything I said </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>anyone offended that I didn't offend them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>twitter: timmedcalf </li></ul>