The Equality Act 2010
From 1 October 2010, the Equality Act 2010 came into effect. The Act replaces previous legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and ensures consistency in what workplaces need to do to comply with the law and make working environments fair.
The main purposes of the Equality Act are:
• Establish the Commission for Equality and Human Rights
• Make discrimination unlawful
• Create a duty on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity between men and women and the prevention of sex discrimination
This new Act aims to protect disabled people, prevent disability discrimination and also strengthen particular aspects of equality law.
It provides legal rights for disabled people in the areas of: * employment
* access to goods, services and facilities including larger private clubs and land based transport services * functions of public bodies, for example the issuing of licences * buying and renting land or property
The Equality Act 2010 replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA); however, the Disability Equality Duty in the DDA continues to apply. The Equality Act covers the same groups that were protected by existing equality legislation - age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity - but now extends some protections to groups not previously covered e.g. carers or parents of a disabled person.
It provides rights for people not to be directly discriminated against or harassed because they have an association with a disabled person. In addition, people must not be directly discriminated against or harassed because they are wrongly perceived to be disabled.
Prior to the Equality Act 2010, the following Acts were individually used. These Acts are now incorporated into the Equality Act. The main Acts incorporated into the Equality Act 2010 are summarised below:
The Equal Pay Act 1970
Under this Act employers cannot discriminate between men and women by paying them differently and providing different employment terms and conditions if they are doing:
• The same or similar work
• Work rated as equivalent in a job evaluation scheme
• Work of equal value
Race Relations Act 1976 and Amended Act 2000
The Race Relations Act 1976 makes racial discrimination unlawful on the grounds of: • Colour
• Nationality (including citizenship)
• ethnic or national origin
The race Relations Act 1976 also covers:
• This occurs when someone is treated less favourably than someone else on racial grounds.
• This occurs when a condition or requirement is imposed equally to persons of any racial group • a considerably smaller proportion of persons in the particular racial group are able to comply with it • it is to the detriment of the person
• it cannot be objectionably justifiable irrespective of the colour race, nationality or ethnic or national origins of the person in question.
Where an employee is singled out for using their workplace complaints procedures or exercising their legal rights.
Examples include: refusal to promote an employee because he or she had invoked a grievance procedure, or for giving evidence against the employer at a tribunal. It has even been held that victimisation can take place after employment has finished, for example, when an employer refuses to give a former employee, who had begun tribunal proceedings, a reference.
An unwelcome or hostile act or series of acts carried out on racial grounds. The Race Relations Act protects you if you have been abused or harassed on racial grounds in any of the situations covered by the amended Act....