The Equality Act 2010 brought together previous anti-discrimination laws with one single Act. As a public body we must inform our employees about the responsibilities we have under the Equality Act.
We now talk about equality in terms of people's "protected characteristics". While it is important not to put people into boxes, the law has meant that we need to look at equality in terms of certain headings.
The Equality Act 2010 makes your rights not to be discriminated against stronger. Discrimination means treating someone worse than other people because of who they are. The groups of people who have the right not be discriminated against have also been extended. People who belong to these groups have what are called protected characteristics.
Below you can access the protected characteristics and see our general and specific duties as a public body.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against people because of their age.
A person belonging to a particular age (for example 32 year old people) or range of ages (for example 18 to 30 year old people).
This is when you are treated differently because of your age.
The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy based on age. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful.
The Equality Act 2010 says that you must not be discriminated against because:
Age groups can be quite wide (for example, ‘people under 50’ or 'under 18s'). They can also be quite specific (for example, ‘people in their mid-40s’). Terms such as ‘young person’ and ‘youthful’ or ‘elderly’ and ‘pensioner’ can also indicate an age group.
A person has a disability if she or he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Gender reassignment is the process of transitioning from one gender to another.
The Equality Act 2010 says that you must not be discriminated against because you are transsexual, when your gender identity is different from the gender assigned to you when you were born. For example:
In the Equality Act it is known as gender reassignment. All transsexual people share the common characteristic of gender reassignment.
To be protected from gender reassignment discrimination, you do not need to have undergone any specific treatment or surgery to change from your birth sex to your preferred gender. This is because changing your physiological or other gender attributes is a personal process rather than a medical one.
You can be at any stage in the transition process – from proposing to reassign your gender, to undergoing a process to reassign your gender, or having completed it.
Marriage is a union between a man and a woman or between a same-sex couple.
Same-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as 'civil partnerships'. Civil partners must not be treated less favourably than married couples (except where permitted by the Equality Act).
Marriage and civil partnership discrimination is when you are treated differently at work because you are married or in a civil partnership.
Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.
Refers to the protected characteristic of race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins. Race discrimination is when you are treated differently because of your race.
The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy based on race. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful.
Religion refers to any religion, including a lack of religion. Belief refers to any religious or philosophical belief and includes a lack of belief. Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.
Sex discrimination is when you are treated differently because of your sex.
The treatment could be a one-off action or could be caused by a rule or policy. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful.
Whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.
Sexual orientation discrimination is when you are treated differently because of your sexual orientation.
The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy based on sexual orientation. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful.
Our general duties under the Equalities Act 2010 show us how we can ensure that we use equality considerations in our day to day duties to make a fairer society for our staff, patients, visitors and the public.
We are required to:
To do this we should:
Meeting this duty may involve treating some people more favourably than others, as long as this does not go against other rules within the Act.
In Wales, the Welsh Government has published Specific Duties under the Equality Act for all public bodies. A summary of these duties is listed below: