The Equality Act 2010 introduced nine “protected characteristics”; which replace the six equality strands of earlier equality legislation. The Act relates to people defined (or perceived to be defined) by the characteristics of:‐
• Age • Sex • Disability • Race • Religion and belief • Gender re‐assignment • Marriage and civil partnership • Sexual orientation • Pregnancy and maternity
Under the Equality Act people and organisations are not allowed to discriminate, harass or victimise another person because they have, or perceived to have, any of the protected characteristics. The Act also requires public sector bodies to have “due regard to the need to:‐
• Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
The term “due regard” means that the body is required to consciously consider these aims when making decisions about policy or practice which would affect people; including how:‐
• A public authority acts as an employer • It develops policies • It designs and delivers services • It procures services.
To find out more about the Equality Act please contact us.