Equality Act 2010 Comes Into Force Today

1 October 2010

Today, 1st October 2010, the Equality Act 2010 comes into force.

Changes include:

  • Pre-employment health questionnaires are potentially discriminatory unless they are for the purpose of assessing a potential employee’s intrinsic ability to carry out the job, are in alignment with diversity policies or for establishing whether the potential employee requires assistance to attend an interview (caution: knowledge of health issues may trigger a duty by the employer to make reasonable adjustments).
  • Disability Related Discrimination is now referred to as “discrimination arising from disability” (S15) in order , among other things, to counter recent difficulties in identifying comparators.
  • Previous strands of discrimination including age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation are now referred to as “protected characteristics”; with the intent that they are protected by (largely) universal “prohibited acts” are.
  • Harassment by third parties has been extended to all “protected characteristics” other than pregnancy/maternity and marriage/civil partnership.
  • Associative discrimination is given a clear statutory footing.
  • Pay secrecy clauses are¬†potentially¬†unenforceable.

Changes that aren’t currently in force but could be in the future are:

  • The right to combine two protected characteristics and bring an additional ‘dual discrimination’ claim, which, if at all, is likely to be brought into force from April 2011.
  • The requirement that an employer with more than 250 employees publishes information regarding their gender pay gap likely to be brought into force in April 2013.
  • Stipulations allowing positive action in recruitment and promotion by employers in favour of members of under-represented groups.¬†

Click here to read more (overview of the Equality Act 2010).