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The Equality Act (PDF)

How to Avoid Discrimination Claims

A Tips & Advice Special Report about...

In a nutshell

Most employers live in fear of a discrimination claim but are often unsure of their legal responsibilities. This updated Special Report will guide you through the intricacies of the Equality Act 2010 and ensure your business stays on the right side of the law.

In detail

The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) was a long time coming. It was needed to clear up the confusion over how discrimination law operates in the UK. Te Act consolidates and harmonises the law, which makes it easier to understand and apply in practice in the workplace. However, some of the ways in which the law has been drafted are unclear and the Act contains provisions which place more burdens on employers then existed under previous laws.                            

Fortunately, this Special Report is on hand to clarify those provisions and provide you with all the tools you need to avoid discrimination in the workplace.

We've created this Tips & Advice Special Report especially for... 

Business owners, personnel managers and HR officers that want to:

  • Fully understand discrimination law and ensure their workplace practices are fully compliant with the provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

You'll get the following free extras with this Tips & Advice Special Report... 

An online service with ready-to-use documents

  • To immediately apply our advice and solutions in practice
  • That you can easily adapt to suit your own requirements

In this Tips & Advice Special Report you'll read about...

Table of contents

1. Introduction to the Equality Act 2010

1.1. What does the Equality Act 2010 cover?

1.2. When did the Act come into operation?

1.3. Does the Act cover all of the United Kingdom?

1.4. Is the Act accompanied by codes of practice and guidance?

1.5. What’s not in the Act?

1.6. Is it good news?

2. Vicarious legal liability

2.1. What is vicarious liability?

2.2. Can an individual employee be liable, but not their employer?

2.3. Could an employee argue that we told them to discriminate?

2.4. How can we defend a discrimination claim?

3. Instructing and aiding discrimination

3.1. Can we avoid liability by getting someone to do the unlawful act for us?

3.2. Can we be liable if we help someone to do an unlawful act but we don’t realise it’s unlawful?

4. Protected characteristics and direct discrimination

4.1. What is a protected characteristic?

4.2. What’s the definition of direct discrimination in the Act?

4.3. Does the claimant have to show more favourable treatment elsewhere?

4.4. What’s the point of a hypothetical comparator?

4.5. How does this definition apply to age?

4.6. Why was perceptive discrimination introduced under the Act?

4.7. How can someone associated with a person with a protected characteristic claim discrimination?

4.8. Why are maternity and pregnancy treated differently?

4.9. What’s the situation after the “protected period” ends?

5. Indirect discrimination

5.1. What is indirect discrimination?

5.2. What’s the definition of indirect discrimination in the Act?

5.3. What does “disadvantage” mean?

5.4. Does this mean we could indirectly discriminate in recruitment?

5.5. What is meant by “objective justification”?

5.6. Are there examples of objective justification?

5.7. Are there any exceptions?

6. Harassment

6.1. What is the definition of harassment in the Act?

6.2. What are some examples of harassment?

6.3. Does there need to be a motivation or intention to harass?

6.4. Could we be liable for third-party harassment?

6.5. Are there any other types of harassment defined in the Act?

6.6. Is there any special reason for the exceptions?

6.7. Is there any guidance available on harassment?

7. Victimisation

7.1. What is victimisation?

7.2. Is it victimisation if we discipline an employee for talking about pay?

8. Disability discrimination

8.1. What is the definition of disability under the Act?

8.2. Are carers now given special protection under the Act?

8.3. Did the Act introduce any changes to disability-related discrimination?

8.4. What does the right involve?

8.5. Are there any other ways to claim disability discrimination under the Act?

8.6. Are there any problems associated with this right to claim?

8.7. Has the duty to make reasonable adjustments been left unchanged?

8.8. How could we fail to make reasonable adjustments?

8.9. Is there any defence to not making a reasonable adjustment?

8.10. Can we share the cost of making adjustments with a disabled employee?

8.11. Is there any good news?

8.12. Could a non-disabled employee claim discrimination?

8.13. Can we make pre-employment health enquiries?

8.14. What are the exemptions?

8.15. What happens if we do ask a candidate about their health?

8.16. When can we ask questions about a candidate’s health?

8.17. In selection interviews can we ask candidates about their absence record?

8.18. Can we ask a successful candidate to undergo a medical examination?

8.19. Can disability be an occupational requirement?

9. Race discrimination

9.1. Did the Act introduce any changes regarding race?

10. Religion or belief discrimination

10.1. What does the Act say about the meaning of religion or belief?

10.2. Are there any special exceptions?

11. Caste discrimination

11.1. What protected characteristic does this cover?

11.2. Is this now law?

12. Sexual orientation

12.1. What is the scope of protection on sexual orientation?

13. Gender reassignment

13.1. What is gender reassignment?

13.2. Is medical treatment necessary for someone to be transgender?

13.3. What about if someone is non-binary?

13.4. At what point is a transgender person protected?

14. Age discrimination

14.1. What’s the position on retiring staff?

14.2. Can you ever have a compulsory normal retirement age now that the DRA has been abolished?

15. Positive action

15.1. Is positive action a new measure introduced by the Act?

15.2. What is meant by positive discrimination?

15.3. What’s the aim of positive action?

15.4. Do we have to offer the job to the one with a protected characteristic?

15.5. When should we take this type of positive action?

15.6. What does “as qualified” mean?

15.7. So, in practice, could candidates be “as qualified” as each other?

15.8. How else could we take positive action in recruitment and training?

16. Occupational requirements

16.1. When could an occupational requirement (OR) apply?

17. Public sector duties

17.1. What are the public sector duties?

18. Equal pay and pay secrecy

18.1. Is there any change to the way an equal pay claim has to be made under the Act?

18.2. Has the genuine material factor (GMF) defence changed under the Act?

18.3. Are there any exceptions to this rule?

18.4. Can discussions about pay between employees be banned?

18.5. Do we have to introduce equal pay audits and gender pay gap reporting?

18.6. What’s all this based on? Is there really a gender pay gap?

18.7. What about ethnicity or disability pay gap reporting?

18.8. What additional powers do tribunals have?

19. Appendices

19.1. Appendix 1

19.2. Appendix 2

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