The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act. It simplified the law, removing inconsistencies and made it easier for people to understand and comply with it. It also strengthened the law in important ways, to help tackle discrimination and inequality.
The Public Sector Equality Duty (section 149 of the Act) came into force on 5 April 2011. The Equality Duty applies to all public bodies and others carrying out public functions. It supports good decision-making by ensuring public bodies consider how different people will be affected by their activities, thus helping them to deliver policies and services that are efficient and accessible to all, and that meet different people’s needs.
The Equality Duty is supported by specific duties set out in regulations that came into force in September 2011, which require public bodies to publish relevant, proportionate information demonstrating their compliance with the Equality Duty and to set themselves specific, measurable equality objectives. The information must show they have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act;
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it;
- foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
The equality characteristics (sometimes referred to as protected characteristics) set out in the Equality Act 2010 are:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership (but only in respect of eliminating unlawful discrimination)
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Race – this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality
- Religion or belief – this includes lack of belief
- Sexual orientation
We treat all our staff and clients the same. This is a law that we feel very strongly about and we will always stand up for the rights of everyone.