The Equality Act was created in 2010, replacing other anti-discrimination laws with one single act. It covers discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation.
What do I need to know about the Equality Act?
The Equality Act outlines your duties to your employees and prevents you discriminating against them.
The Act covers both direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination is treating employees less favourably because of a disability, their association with someone disabled, or a perceived disability. Indirect discrimination is treating an employee less favourably by putting them at a disadvantage, usually by introducing a provision or practice which negatively affects them (e.g. you might require employees to climb stairs, which would put employees with a physical disability at a disadvantage).
In a similar way, you can’t put someone at a disadvantage, directly or indirectly, because of their age, sex, religion, race, sexual orientation or marital and parental status.
What happens if I don’t follow the Equality Act?
Employees who feel they have been discriminated against will be able to take you tribunal. The tribunal’s powers have also been extended to recommend changes that will benefit the entire workforce, not just one employee.
You do have a defence against a discrimination claim if the factors causing discrimination can be proved to be ‘proportionate to meeting a legitimate aim’ and ‘if discrimination is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.
Need some advice on the Equality Act?
Our legal team are on-hand to discuss and upcoming tribunals, or any discrimination cases you might have.
Give us a call on: 020 7870 1090 to discuss how to access our legal experts!