These were the government’s aims in bringing in the Equality Act. The presentation which follows will illustrate how the government has strengthened, harmonised and streamlined the equality legislation.
Age The protected characteristic of age means a person belonging to a particular age group. This includes people of the same age and people of a particular range of ages. Eg ‘over 50s’ or ‘21 yr olds’. Disability Protection is provided where someone has a physical or mental impairment and this has a substantial and long term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Gender reassignment Protection is provided where someone has proposed, started or completed a process to change their sex. It is clear that there is no requirement to be undergo medical supervision Marriage and civil partnership Protection from discrimination for being married or in a civil partnership is provided in employment and vocational training only. Pregnancy and maternity For all areas covered by the Act a woman is protected from unfavourable treatment because of pregnancy or has because she has given birth. Race ‘ Race’ includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. A racial group can also be made up of two or more distinct racial groups. Religion and Belief Meaning of religion Religion’ means any religion and includes a lack of religion. It is for the courts to determine what constitutes a religion. Meaning of belief Belief means any religious or philosophical belief and includes a lack of belief. Examples of philosophical beliefs include Humanism and Atheism. 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.
Below are some examples to illustrate the areas covered by the Act. Services: The Act imposes obligations on everyone concerned with the provision of services to the public, or to a section of the public, whether in the private, public or voluntary sectors. Public Functions: Public functions are activities which the State has responsibility for, such as policing, immigration control, taxation, licensing and running prisons, and children legislation. Premises: Discrimination is prohibited in selling, letting or subletting, management or occupation of premises. Work This covers employees and applicants, contract workers (NB only the principal is liable), police officers, partners, barristers, personal and public officers holders; qualification bodies, employment services, trade organisations and local authority members Education This covers schools, FE and HE general qualification bodies, educational charities and endowments Associations Eg organisations established to promote the interests of their members, such as clubs for ex-service personnel; political parties; charities; private clubs including sports clubs; Scouts etc or organisations like the Rotary Club. But not things like a book club, gym, nightclub, football team supporter’s club or campaigning organisation at they don’t meet the requirement that there must be rules regarding who can be a member.
Extending the equality duty to require the public sector to take into account the needs of all protected groups (except marital and civil partnership status). The new Equality Duty will require public authorities to consider the needs of all the protected groups in, for example, employment and when designing and delivering services. Protecting people from discrimination in the recruitment process. The Bill makes it unlawful for employers to ask job applicants questions about disability or health before making a job offer, except in specified circumstances. 3. Protecting carers from discrimination. The Equality Act will protect people who are, for example, caring for a disabled child or relative. They will be protected by virtue of their association to that person. 4. Protecting pregnant women and mothers from discrimination. The Equality Act makes clear that mothers can breastfeed their children in places like cafes and shops and not be asked to leave. The Act also prohibits schools from discriminating against pupils who are pregnant or new mothers So, what does this mean for society? Here are five examples
Direct Discrimination occurs where a person treats another less favourably because of a protected characteristic than they treat, or would treat, others. The new definition of direct discrimination also covers cases where discrimination occurs because of a victim’s association with someone with a particular protected characteristic, e.g. a parent or partner. Protection is also provided where someone is wrongly thought to have a particular protected characteristic, eg they are mistakenly believed to be gay, and are treated less favourably because of that belief. This intended application of the direct discrimination provision represents one of the most significant expansions of protection in the Equality Act Indirect discrimination arises when an unjustifiable provision, criterion or practice is applied to everyone, but it places people with a protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage. Eg a requirement that everyone must work full time would place women with child caring responsibilities at a particular disadvantage, the employer would need to be able to show that it was nevertheless a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Indirect discrimination now expressly covers all grounds except pregnancy and maternity, which would be dealt with as indirect sex discrimination. Pregnancy and maternity discrimination is defined in employment as unfavourable treatment of a woman because of her pregnancy - from the time she becomes pregnant to the end of her maternity leave ;or because of an illness suffered by her as a result of her pregnancy; or in connection with maternity leave. Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in all other areas covered by the Act is defined as unfavourable treatment of a woman because of her pregnancy; unfavourable treatment because she has given birth, including because she is breastfeeding. from birth to end of 26 weeks
Harassment is: unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic which 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. Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has that purpose or effect; or 3. Where A (or another person) engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or that is related to gender reassignment or sex which has the purpose or effect described above; and the complainant rejects or submits to the conduct and because of this rejection/submission is treated less favourably than if they had not done so. eg someone who rebuffs a manager’s sexual advance is subsequently not promoted because of that rebuffal is subjected to two types of harassment – (2) and (3) . Third Party Harassment The Act has extended protection against harassment of employees by customers, clients and contractors to apply to all protected characteristics. Liability will arise where an employer becomes aware that an employee has been harassed on at least two occasions by a third party (doesn’t matter if it’s different customers etc) and they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent it happening for a third time. Discrimination arising from Disability - A person is treated unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of his/her disability, and the employer/service provider cannot show that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim; this is discrimination unless the employer etc didn’t know, or could not reasonably have been expected to know, that the person had the disability. Eg a bookshop refuses admittance to anyone with a dog, including a blind person with a guide dog. Duty to make reasonable adjustments arises where: 1. a provision, criterion or practice or 2. a physical feature puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled, duty holder must take reasonable steps to avoid the disadvantage; or 3. Where provision of an auxiliary aid would prevent a disabled person from being put at a substantial disadvantage there is a duty to take reasonable steps to provide it. Eg an organiser of a large conference could consult with hearing impaired delegates to ascertain what steps she needs to take to avoid them being put at a substantial disadvantage at the conference: eg provision of sign language interpreters, a palantypist and induction loop.
The new public sector equality duty requires public authorities to have regard to the need to: 1 . Eliminate discrimination and other conduct prohibited by Act 2. Advance equality of opportunity: - remove or minimise disadvantages - take steps to meet needs - encourage participation in public life 3. Foster good relations: - tackle prejudice - promote understanding Positive Action This section is new. There were positive action provisions in previous legislation, but the Equality Act extends what is permitted, covers all areas of the Act and applies in relation to all protected characteristics. Examples: Having identified that its white male pupils are underperforming at maths, a school could run supplementary maths classes exclusively for them. An employer’s monitoring data on training shows that their workers over the age of 60 are more likely to request training in advanced IT skills compared to workers outside this age group. The employer could provide training sessions primarily targeted at this group of workers.
Awaiting Scottish Specific Duties whilst they undergo a consultation period in Autumn 2011.
Timing on publication for all codes and guidance are subject to change. The Codes will explain the provisions of the Act, helping those with obligations with the practical application of the Act, and helping stakeholders understand their rights under the Act. Failure to follow the provisions in the Codes could be taken into account by a court when determining whether or not someone has breached the Equality Act.
The Non Statutory Guidance is designed to be accessible to the lay reader, with lots of examples. It’s a simple explanation of how the law is supposed to work.
Guidance on the EHRC website covers the following situations: When you recruit someone to work for you Working hours and time off Pay and benefits Career development – training, development, promotion and transfer Managing people Dismissal, redundancy, retirement and after someone’s left Good practice: equality policies, equality training and monitoring Providing services, carrying out public functions or running an association
The EqualityAct 2010What the new Act means for you
Contents1. Purpose of the Act 6. Other Key provisions2. What does this mean for 7. Timescales society? 8. Codes and Guidance3. Overview of sectors covered by the Act 9. Further information4. Protected Characteristics5. Prohibited Conduct06/25/12 2
Purpose of the Act Strengthening, harmonising and streamlining 40 years of equalities legislation: Strengthening: improving the effectiveness of equality legislation Harmonising: providing the same levels of protection from discrimination across all the protected characteristics and all sectors, where appropriate Streamlining: simplifying and consolidating approximately 116 pieces of separate equality legislation06/25/12 3
Protected Characteristics1. Age 6. Race3. Disability 7. Religion and belief5. Gender reassignment 8. Sex7. Marriage and civil partnership 9. Sexual orientation5. Pregnancy and maternity06/25/12 4
Where does the Act apply? • Services and Public Functions • Premises • Work • Education • Associations, including Political Parties06/25/12 5
So, what does this mean for society?Here are four examples: 1. Extending the equality duty to require the public sector to take into account the needs of all protected groups (except marital and civil partnership status). 2. Protecting disabled people from potentially discriminatory questions in the recruitment process. 3. Protecting carers from discrimination. 4. Protecting pregnant women and mothers from discrimination when using services etc.06/25/12 6
Prohibited Conduct1. Direct discrimination, including by association and perception.3. Indirect discrimination – now covers all characteristics.3. Pregnancy and maternity discrimination.06/25/12 7
Prohibited conduct 1. Harassment. 2. Third party harassment. 3. Discrimination arising from disability. 4. Duty to make reasonable adjustments.06/25/12 8
Other Key Provisions • Public Sector Equality Duty to have due regard to the need to: Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation Advance Equality of Opportunity Foster good relations •Positive Action provisions permits proportionate action to overcome disadvantage, meet needs and tackle under representation.06/25/12 9
Timescales October 2010: The majority of the Act’s provisions come into force on 1 October 2010. 5 April 2011: Public Sector Equality Duty and specific duties in Wales. September 2011: Specific Duties in England and non-devolved bodies. 2013: Gender pay gap regulations (awaiting government clarification) and political parties publishing diversity data.06/25/12 10
Statutory Codes October 2010: Employment; Services, Public Functions and Associations; and Equal Pay. TBC 2011: Further and Higher Education and Schools TBC 2011: Public Sector Equality Duty Under discussion: Housing and Premises; Transport.06/25/12 11
EHRC Non Statutory Guidance July 2010 : Employment; Services; Education. January 2011: Public Sector Equality Duty.06/25/12 12
How do I find out more? Visit www.equalityhumanrights.com/ea2010 for the Commission’s Codes of Practice, guidance and starter kit. You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries. For general questions you can call the Equality and Human Rights Commission Helpline: England: 0845 604 6610 Scotland: 0845 604 5510 Wales: 0845 604 8810.06/25/12 13
End of Presentationwww.equalityhumanrights.com/ea2010