Today marks the long-awaited launch of the Equality Act (2010).
The vast majority of the Equality Act’s provisions will come into force today. This landmark legislation strengthens, harmonises and streamlines 40 years of equality legislation, providing protection from discrimination across all the ‘protected characteristics’: age, disability, sex (including gender reassignment), race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation. The Equality Act affects employers and service providers and applies whatever the size of the organisation or sector you work in.
Most of the Employment, Services and Education parts of the Act come into force on 1 October and the Public Sector Equality Duty provisions are planned to come into force in April 2011.
The Equality And Human Rights Commission is providing wide-ranging support to the private, voluntary and public sectors to ensure they are fully aware of all the legal requirements. Please click here to see a video introduction to the Act from Trevor Philips and Stephen Alambritis.
The EHRC has also produced in-depth guidance for employers, employees, schools and higher and further education providers, and those providing or using services, including clubs, associations and political parties. The Commission will also be producing guidance for students and parents, guides on housing and transport, and guidance around the Public Sector Equality Duties. To view the EHRC’s current guidance documents, please click here.
To complement the guidance, the Commission are also producing a Starter Kit giving a short, accessible summary to the Act to help you understand the essentials of the law. It will offer simple downloadable learning modules taking you through different scenarios as an employer or service provider.
The EHRC will be laying the following draft Codes of Practice before Parliament on 11 October: Equal Pay, Employment, and Services and Public Functions.
Two statutory consultations are also planned this autumn; first on the Code of Practice for Further and Higher Education, which launches today, and in November they will be consulting on the Public Sector Equality Duty Codes. The consultation on the Schools Codes is scheduled for February/March 2011.
To find out more and keep up-to-date with all information, events and guidance about the Act please visit the Equality Act area of the EHRC’s website.