The Equality Act brings together different pieces of equality legislation and improves on the definitions of characteristics to consider by the private, public and voluntary sectors. Under the Act there are 9 protected characteristics:

  1. Age
  2. Disability
  3. Gender Identity (previously called Gender Reassignment)
  4. Marriage & Civil Parnership
  5. Pregnancy or Maternity
  6. Race (Ethnicity)
  7. Religion, Faith & Belief
  8. Sex (Gender)
  9. Sexual Orientation (including heterosexuality)

What is the Equality Duty?

Public bodies and organisations carrying out public functions are required to give consideration (termed “due regard”) to the impact their day to day work has on equality. Due regard must be given in how an employer treats its employees, how it’s policies affect equality and how it’s services affect customers and clients.

Organisations covered by the Equality Duty include the NHS, local councils and HMRC and other government departments.

Compliance with the Equality Duty is an ongoing process of continuous reflection and improvement.

There are two aspects to the Equality Duty:

(a) General Duty – review functions and operations and give due regard to:

(b) Specific Duty – determined by Parliament and consists of particular elements that organisations must do to deliver the General Duty:

  • Publish annual information to show that they are complying with the General Duty
  • Scope out and publish Equality Objectives (deadline was 2012) to show how they intend to achieve the three aims of the General Duty, and review every four years after that.

Complying with the equality duty is not an end in itself. It is an ongoing process of continuous improvement. The following pages set out how we have shown due regard to equality in what we do.

What are the different types of discrimination covered by the Act?

Try the Equality Act 2010 Quiz.