Equality Act 2010 | A two minute summary
The Equality Act passed into law on 6 April 2010 with many of its provisions coming into effect in October 2010. The intention of the Act is to harmonise the fragmented discrimination legislation but it also introduces some new restrictions which you need to be aware of as employers.
Set out below is an at a glance review of some of the key changes introduced by the Equality Act and due to come into force in October 2010. Between now and October we will be publishing more detailed updates in "bite size" chucks to help all readers understand the important changes which this Act is introducing.
Direct discrimination | will cover discrimination based on perception and association.
Indirect discrimination | will cover circumstances where someone is put at a disadvantage but also where they would be put at a disadvantage. This is intended to cover situations where someone is put off/or deterred and will most likely apply to recruitment.
Harassment | will cover treatment based on perception and association. Employers will also be liable for harassment by third parties in the workplace if they fail to take reasonably practicable steps to prevent the third party from harassing an individual in circumstances where they have been harassed on two previous occasions.
Discrimination arising from disability | An entirely new aspect of disability discrimination. This will occur if A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B's disability. For example, if B is dismissed because of absences arising from a disability A will have discriminated against B. A can avoid liability if they can objectively justify the dismissal.
Pre-employment questionnaires | Questions about health can be asked, but an employer cannot discriminate in the way they respond to the answers. Questions can also be asked, for example, to establish whether a disabled person will be able to carry out an intrinsic function of the work concerned or for monitoring diversity.
Equal pay | A claim for 'equal pay' can be made in the absence of a comparator under the remit of direct sex discrimination where the treatment can be shown to be because of a person's sex. For example where an employer says 'I would pay you more if you were a man'.
Secrecy clauses | Any provision preventing an employee discussing pay to establish whether they have been discriminated against will be void and that same employee protected from victimisation because they have discussed pay.