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What is the Equality Act

What is the Equality Act

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    The Equality Act of 2010 came into play on the 1st of October 2010. This act provides a legal framework for protecting individuals from discrimination and further advancing the right to equal opportunity both in the workplace and wider society. Before the Equality Act came into legislation, over 116 separate pieces of legislation existed to cover all the different needs for those experiencing daily discrimination. Some examples of the acts that existed before 2010 are: 

    • The Equal Pay Act 1970;
    • The Sex Discrimination Act 1975;
    • The Race Relations Act 1976;
    • The Disability Discrimination Act 1995;
    • The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003;
    • The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003;
    • The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006;
    • The Equality Act 2006; and
    • The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.


    To simplify the law these legislations were then combined into the Equality Act 2010. However, if the issue occurred before this then you may have to rely on legislation before the Equality Act 2010. For example, if the issue occurred in September of 2010, the Equality Act 2010 which first came into legislation 1 October 2010 would not apply. Instead, you would have to pursue the relevant act for the reported instance, e.g., the Race Relations Act 1976. However, if it was the case that the issue first occurred in September of 2010 and did not end until the 2 October of 2010 then you would be able to pursue the Equality Act 2010.


    Protected Characteristics

    The Equality Act 2010 defines specific characteristics as protected. It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on these characteristics. To make a discrimination claim under the Equality Act 2010, you must be covered by one of these characteristics. This section takes you through examples of these characteristics. 


    The Act now protects the following nine characteristics (each is dealt with in its section of the website) 

    • Age
    • Disability
    • Gender Reassignment
    • Marriage and Civil Partnership
    • Pregnancy and Maternity
    • Race
    • Religion and Belief
    • Sex
    • Sexual Orientation

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