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Legislation for equality and diversity

Legislation requires us to make a number of proactive steps to end discrimination. This body of law has been built up over a number of years.

Legislation requires us to make a number of proactive steps to end discrimination. This body of law has been built up over several years.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010, which came into force in October 2010, replaces the previous 116 separate pieces of legislation, covering areas such as Equal Pay, Sex Discrimination, Race Relations and Disability Discrimination. It simplifies the law and strengthens it in important ways to help tackle discrimination and inequality.

Equality duties

With the introduction of the Equality Act 2010, the law requires anyone carrying out public functions to build the advancement of equality into all those functions. This is known as the public sector Equality Duty, which came into force in April 2011.

The aim is for public bodies to consider the needs of all individuals in their day to day work in:

  • developing policy
  • delivering services
  • in relation to their own employees

The Equality Duty replaces the three previous duties on race, disability and gender, bringing them together into a single duty, and extends it to cover age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment.

 The new Equality Duty requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other conduct that is unlawful under the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
  • Foster good relations between persons who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

For more information on the Equality Act 2010 http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/legal-and-policy/equality-act/ 

Page updated: 22 July 2011

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