Equality Act (2010) Comes Into Force Today

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.

U.S. Gay College Student Jumps To His Death

A New Jersey college student has leapt to his death a day after authorities said two students secretly filmed him having sex with a man and broadcast it over the internet.

Tyler Clementi’s wallet was found on the George Washington Bridge on 22 September after two witnesses saw someone jump from the structure, authorities told the AP news agency. Mr Clementi’s body was later found.

Two students have been charged with illegally filming the 18-year-old.

“Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words,” Paul Mainardi, a lawyer for Mr Clementi’s family, said in a statement confirming the suicide.

The teenage violinist’s body was identified on Thursday after his body was found in the Hudson River a day earlier.

The footage was allegedly taken using a web camera in Mr Clementi’s dorm room at Rutgers University and broadcast live over the internet.

The two charged with filming and broadcasting the images are Mr Clementi’s room-mate, Dharun Ravi, and Molly Wei.

If convicted, the two students face up to five years in prison.

An account belonging to Mr Ravi on the microblogging website Twitter has recently been deleted. But in a recovered snapshot of the account obtained from Google, Mr Ravi wrote about an experience involving his room-mate.

“Room-mate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay,” Mr Ravi wrote on Twitter on 19 September.

Two days later Mr Ravi wrote: “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”

Gay rights organisations say Mr Clementi’s suicide is an example of a nationwide problem – young people killing themselves after being bullied over their sexuality.

Reconciling Religion, Gender & Sexuality – Case Studies Needed

Eileen Fry from the University of Derby’s Multi-Faith Centre has been involved in a European Project on Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination Training for the last five years and is currently helping to develop a module on “Reconciling Religion, Gender and Sexuality” (To date, this is just a working title.)

Eileen is currently trying to gather case studies which would help her to facilitate activities on reconciliation (or not as the case maybe) and exploring personal spirituality.

If you are happy to be interviewed, all anonymous of course, please get in touch with her on eileenfry@yahoo.co.uk