Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act was required because:

  • Women still earn, on average, 22.6% less per hour than men
  • :Less academically able, but better off children, overtake more able, poorer children at school by the age of six
  • Disabled people are still more than twice as likely to be out of work than non-disabled people
  • If action is not taken, it will take more than 100 years for people from ethnic minorities to have the same job prospects as white people
  • In in five older people are unsuccessful in getting quotations for motor insurance, travel insurance and car hire
  • 6 out of 10 lesbian and gay schoolchildren experience homophobic bullying.

Prior to the act:

  • The discrimination laws had helped make progress on equality, but because they had been developed over more than 40 years they had become complex and difficult for people to understand and navigate.
  • There were nine major pieces of discrimination legislation i.e. Sex Discrimination Act, Equal pay Act, Race Relations Act and Disability Discrimination Act, around 100 statutory instruments setting out rules and regulations and more than 2,500 pages of guidance and statutory codes of practice.
  • The discrimination legislation at that time contained some illogical provisions for certain characteristics that didn’t apply to others

Protected characteristics

There is now legal protection in employment and the delivery of goods and services in relation to the following 9 protected characteristic;

1)     Age

2)     Disability

3)     Gender reassignment

4)     Marriage and civil partnership

5)     Pregnancy and maternity

6)     Race

7)     Relgion or belief (including lack of belief)

8)     Sex

9)     Sexual orientation


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