The Equality Act 2010 is the law which bans unfair treatment and helps achieve equal opportunities in the workplace and in wider society.
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Sports Charter logo competition
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Published 21 November 2011
Specific duties quick start guide published
A quick start guide has been published to help public bodies understand and implement the specific duties which support the Equality Duty.
Published: 21 October 2011
Specific duties regulations come into force
The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 came into force on 10 September. They help public bodies perform the public sector Equality Duty better by requiring them to publish relevant, proportionate information showing compliance with the Equality Duty, and to set equality objectives.
Published: 10 September 2011
What’s included in the Equality Act?
The act replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act to make the law simpler and to remove inconsistencies. This makes the law easier for people to understand and comply with. The act also strengthened protection in some situations.
The act covers nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, so the act protects everyone against unfair treatment. The protected characteristics are:
marriage and civil partnership
pregnancy and maternity
religion or belief
The Equality Act sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone, such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation and failing to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person.
The act prohibits unfair treatment in the workplace, when providing goods, facilities and services, when exercising public functions, in the disposal and management of premises, in education and by associations (such as private clubs).
More about the Equality Act
The Equality Act 2010 on the legislation.gov.uk website
Explanatory notes on the legislation.gov.uk website
When did the Equality Act come into effect?
The provisions of the act are being brought into force at different times (known as commencement dates). This is to ensure people and organisations affected by the new laws have plenty of time to prepare.
Most of the provisions came into force in October 2010. Further provisions came into force in April 2011.
We are considering if and when the remaining provisions will be brought into force, to ensure the act is implemented in an effective and proportionate way. Find out more about commencement dates.
Legislation repealed or revoked by the Equality Act
A list of all legislation that was repealed or revoked on 1 October 2010 is available in Schedule 27 to the act.
Equality Act Statutory Instruments
Statutory Instruments made under the act are available. Explanatory Memoranda for the Statutory Instruments are accessible using one of the tabs at the top of each Statutory Instrument listing.
All UK Statutory Instruments related to the Equality Act on the legislation.gov.uk website
All Welsh Statutory Instruments related to the Equality Act on the legislation.gov.uk website
All Scottish Statutory Instruments related to the Equality Act on the legislation.gov.uk website
Guidance on the Equality Act
We have produced a series of guides entitled: Equality Act: What do I need to know? outlining the key changes in the law made by the act.
(Links will open in a new window)
- Equality and Human Rights Commission: Equality Act Starter Kit
- Acas: Equality
- Business Link: Equality and Diversity
- Citizens Advice: Your rights
- Directgov: Your rights
- Archived Government Equalities Office website
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