• The Equality Act 2010 is Here At Last
  • October 4, 2010 | Author: Alex Denny
  • Law Firm: Faegre & Benson LLP - London Office
  • The major provisions of the Equality Act come into force on 1 October 2010.  The key effect of the Equality Act is to consolidate and harmonise existing discrimination legislation.  Many of the changes will be of more significance to legal practitioners than to HR professionals, but some of the key provisions that employers should note are as follows: 

    • There is no change to the list of protected characteristics (age, disability, sex, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership and sexual orientation).  There is also no significant change to the definitions of those characteristics.
    • It is now possible to bring a claim for most types of discrimination and harassment based on perception and association.  For example, an employee can claim that they have been treated less favourably or harassed because of their perceived (rather than actual) sexual orientation or because of the sexual orientation of a person with whom the employee associates. 
    • The types of disability discrimination have now changed.  The law in this area is complex but, broadly, the changes will make it easier for an employee to bring a successful claim for disability discrimination. 
    • The controversial provisions requiring large employers (with over 250 employees) to disclose information about their employees' pay will not come into force immediately; it is thought more likely that these terms will be implemented in 2013.