The new Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010. The Equality Act brings together over 116 separate pieces of legislation into one single Act. Combined, they make up a new Act that will provide a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.
Equality Act 2010
The Act will simplify, strengthen and harmonise the current legislation to provides a new discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.
The nine main pieces of legislation that have merged are:
- the Equal Pay Act 1970
- the Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- the Race Relations Act 1976
- the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
- the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
- the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
- the Equality Act 2006, Part 2
- the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
A summary overview of the Act can be found below, with further guidance available on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website, and the full version of the Act on the Goverment website:
Specific Public Sector Equality Duties
The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 (the Regulations) came into force on 10 September 2011.
The Regulations set out the specific public sector equality duties that certain public bodies must comply with.
The aim of the specific duties is to help public bodies comply with the general duty to promote equality in the workplace contained in the Equality Act 2010, which has been in force since 5 April 2011.
General Equality Duty
The general single equality duty requires public bodies, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between those who share or have different protected characteristics.
The duty explains that having due regard for advancing equality involves:
- Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
- Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people
- Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.
Public Sector Equality Duty - Scotland
The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012
Information and guidance on how the University will approach the new specific duites will be published here shortly.
In the meantime here is an outline of the duties:
- Publish equality outcomes based on evidence and involvement of equality groups by 30 April 2013 and every four years thereafter. Report on progress by 30 April 2015 and every two years thereafter.
- Reporting on mainstreaming and action to embed equality and diversity into the day to day systems and practices of an organisation by 30 April 2013 and every two years thereafter.
- Impact assessment of new and revised policies and practices, informed by evidence and involvement in relation to the three parts of general duty from 27 May 2012
- Gathering, publishing and using employment data on an annual basis across the protected characteristics (to be included in mainstreaming report).
- Publishing gender pay gap information by 30 April 2013 and every second year after that (150 or more employees).
- Publishing equal pay statement for gender by 30 April 2013 and every fourth year after that. Subsequent statements to include disabled and race (150 or more employees).
- Consider equality duty in award criteria for public procurement agreements
- Publish all reports in a manner that is accessible and using existing means of public performance reporting, as far as is practicable.
- Scottish Ministers to publish proposals to enable public bodies to better perform the equality duty by 31 December 2013 and every four years thereafter. To report on progress by 31 December 2015 and every four years thereafter