Equality Duties under the Equality Act 2010

What is the Equality Act?

The Equality Act 2010 brought together and updated a wide range of laws passed since the 1970s into one place, to make things fairer for everyone. It sets out the personal characteristics that are protected by law and the behaviour that is unlawful. The Act is a simplification of previous anti-discrimination laws.

Who is protected by the Act?

Everyone in Britain is protected from unlawful behaviour by the Act. The ‘protected characteristics’ under the Act are:

What is the public sector general equality duty?

The equality duty was created by the Equality Act 2010 and replaces the race, disability and gender equality duties. The duty came into force in April 2011. The general equality duty requires the University to have due regard to the need to:

What are the public sector specific duties?

The focus of the specific duties is transparency in how HEIs are responding to the equality duty. It is important to note that institutions must meet both the equality duty and the specific duties – it is not enough to meet the specific duties alone. There are three specific duties:

Who is responsible for enforcing the public sector Equality Duty?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing the equality duty. The Commission may seek to take steps to encourage compliance by public body, before moving to enforcement, where appropriate. The Commission has a number of special statutory powers that it is able to use to enforce the specific duties and the general duty. Both the Commission and affected persons can apply to the High Court for a judicial review in respect of a failure to comply with the general duty.