The Equality Act (2010) is an Act of UK Parliament covering England, Scotland & Wales. The Act consolidated and updated several other pieces of anti-discrimination legislation. For example, you may have heard in the past about the Disability Discrimination Act (1995). Having a single piece of legislation makes things simple. In Northen Ireland, equality law remains across several pieces of legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) Regulation (Northern Ireland) (2004).
The Equality Act (2010) defines a list of nine 'protected characteristics' which are specific aspects of people's identities. It's unlawful to discriminate against someone because of these protected characteristics:
- gender reassignment
- being married or in a civil partnership
- being pregnant or on maternity leave
- race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
You’re also protected from discrimination if:
- you’re associated with someone who has a protected characteristic. For example, if you're the carer for someone with a disability, or if you associate with someone with an impairment
- you’ve complained about discrimination or supported someone else’s claim
- you're perceived to have a protected characteristic. For example, someone treats you as if you have a disability when in fact you do not
Want to know more about your rights at work?
We've got a wealth of information available on our website, including what support is available, useful resources and contacts and template letters if you need to resort to raising a complaint about discrimination of unfair treatment.
Take me to the support available.