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Equality Act 2010

4 October 2010

The Equality Act, which came into force on 1 October 2010, provides a new legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. The Act simplifies and brings into one Act existing discrimination law. It also introduces additional protections in a number of areas ranging from the use of hypothetical comparators in equal pay claims to reversing the impact of the Malcolm decision in Disability Discrimination. All practitioners need to be familiar with the new language and concepts utlisied in the legislation and be aware of key new principles.

Provisions which came into force on 1 October 2010:

  • The basic framework of protection against direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation in services and public functions; premises; work; education; associations, and transport
  • Changing the definition of gender reassignment, by removing the requirement for medical supervision
  • Levelling up protection for people discriminated against because they are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has, a protected characteristic
  • Applying the European definition of indirect discrimination to all protected characteristics
  • Extending protection from indirect discrimination to disability
  • Introducing a new concept of "discrimination arising from disability", to replace protection under previous legislation lost as a result of Malcolm
  • Harmonising the thresholds for the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people
  • Extending protection from 3rd party harassment to all protected characteristics
  • Making it more difficult for disabled people to be unfairly screened out when applying for jobs, by restricting the circumstances in which employers can ask job applicants questions about disability or health
  • Allowing hypothetical comparators for direct gender pay discrimination
  • Making pay secrecy clauses unenforceable
  • Introducing new powers for employment tribunals to make recommendations which benefit the wider workforce
  • Harmonising provisions allowing voluntary positive action

Provisions the Government is still considering:

  • The Socio-economic Duty on public authorities
  • Dual discrimination
  • Gender pay gap information
  • Positive action in recruitment and promotion

To find out more about the Act and its implications, download our full summary of the Equality Act 2010 from our recent seminar.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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