Equality Act 2010

"Welcome to a University where everyone is equal, but never the same"

What is the Equality Act 2010?

What is the Equality Act 2010? 

The Equality Act brings together nine separate pieces of legislation into one single Act, simplifying and strengthening the law to help tackle discrimination and inequality.
The nine main pieces of legislation that merged as part of the Equality Act 2010 are:

  • the Equal Pay Act 1970
  • the Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • the Race Relations Act 1976
  • the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
  • the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
  • the Equality Act 2006, Part 2
  • the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007

For more information on the Equality Act 2010 please visit: 

Human Rights Commission
 

What are the 9 protected characteristics?




Age: 

Age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act gives protection to people of all ages.

The University is committed to promoting an ethos that safeguards the dignity and wellbeing of everyone and encourages practices that take into account the rights of individuals to be treated with dignity and respect. It recognises that age discrimination, harassment and victimisation may be experienced by all in a number of ways, including day-to-day interaction with colleagues, peers, visitors and students.

The University seeks to eliminate all forms of age discrimination and prejudice, both overt and covert; as such behaviour is unacceptable, discriminatory and unlawful.

The Act continues to allow employers to have a default retirement age of 65 until April 2011 and then it will be phased out by October 2011.  For more information on the government's plans to remove the default retirement age please visit the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU).

We will comply with the requirements of the Equality Act with regard to age equality.

For further information please visit the ACAS website.  

Disability:

Disability is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

  • The Act abandons the list of capacities, relying instead on the general requirement that an impairment has a substantial (i.e. more than minor or trival) and long term effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities (without specifying what those activities might be).
  • The Act extends indirect discrimination protection to disability. You can find further information here.
  • The Act makes the law on reasonable adjustments clearer. You can find further information here. 
  • The Act prohibits pre-employment health questionnaires. You can find further information here.

The University is committed to promoting an ethos that safeguards the dignity and wellbeing of everyone and encourages practices that take into account the rights of individuals to be treated with dignity and respect. It recognises that disability discrimination, harassment and victimisation may be experienced by all in a number of ways, including day to day interaction with colleagues, peers, visitors and staff.

The University recognises the valuable contribution that can be made by both disabled and non-disabled staff and students, in terms of quality of experiences brought to learning, teaching, support services, research, consultancy, enterprise, administration and management.

We will comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 with regard to disability equality.

Gender Reassignment: 

Gender Reassignment is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. The definition of gender reassignment has been amended to cover people who have proposed, started or completed a process to change their sex. A transsexual person has the protected characteristics of gender reassignment. Protection remains for people undergoing gender reassignment from discrimination due to absence from work and studies.

The Board of Governors and the University Strategic Management Group affirm their responsibility for implementing equality for everyone in all activities and responsibility of the University. This commitment is consistent with the significant progress the University has already made in this area.

We will comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 with regard to Gender Reassignment.

Please visit our EDI Policies page for further information about the LJMU Gender Reassignment Guidance Document.

Marriage and Civil Partnership: 

The marriage of same sex couples in England and Wales is lawful under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.

The Act:

  • allows same sex couples to marry in religious ceremonies, where the religious organisation has ‘opted in’ to conduct such ceremonies and the minister of religion agrees.
  • protects religious organisations and their representatives who do not wish to conduct marriages of same sex couples from successful legal challenges
  • enables civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage, if they wish
  • enables married individuals to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage

The marriage of a same sex couple may only be solemnized in accordance with the following:

 (a) Part 3 of the Marriage Act 1949

 (b) Part 5 of the Marriage Act 1949

 (c) The Marriage (Registrar General’s Licence) Act 1970, or

 (d) An Order in Council made under Part 1 or 3 of Schedule 6.

For more information, please visit: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/30/notes/division/1/1

Pregnancy and Maternity:

Pregnancy and Maternity is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in an employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination covers 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.

The application of the Act means that a HEI will not be able to refuse an applicant's entry to a course because they are pregnant or ask that they leave a course because they become pregnant. A HEI will also need to consider arrangements for students to ensure that a woman is not treated less favourably because she is breastfeeding. Absence related to pregnancy and maternity must be taken into account by a HEI.

Race: 

Race is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.

The University is committed to promoting an ethos that safeguards the dignity and well being of everyone and encourages practices that take into account the rights of individuals to be treated with dignity and respect. It recognises that race discrimination, harassment and victimisation may be experienced by all in a number of ways, including day-to-day interaction with colleagues, peers, visitors and staff.

The University does not tolerate any form of race discrimination which it recognises is unacceptable, discriminatory and unlawful, and is proactive in ensuring that people, whatever their race, are treated fairly. This commitment is consistent with the significant progress that the University has already made in this area.

The University recognises the valuable contribution that can be made by staff and students regardless of their race, in terms of qualities of experiences brought to learning, teaching, support services, research, consultancy, enterprise, widening participation, administration and management.

We will comply with the requirements of the Equality Act  2010 with regard to race equality.

Religion or Belief: 

Religion and belief is one of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010.

Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.

   The University is committed to promoting an ethos that safeguards the dignity and well-being of everyone and encourages practices that take into account the rights of individuals to be treated with dignity and respect. It recognises that discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of religion and/or belief or non-belief may be experienced in a number of ways, including day-to-day interaction with colleagues, peers, visitors and students.

The University seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination and prejudice based on religion and/or belief or non-belief, both overt or covert, as such behaviour is unacceptable, discriminatory and unlawful from December 2003; and is committed to treating staff, students and others fairly, regardless of their religion or belief and will not condone unfavourable treatment on this basis.

It recognises the valuable contributions made by staff and students in terms of qualitiy of experiences brought to learning, teaching, support services, research, consultancy, enterprise, administration and management.

Any incidents of bullying, harassment and/or victimisation on the grounds of religion and/or belief or non-belief will be taken seriously and could provide grounds for disciplinary action that may lead to dismissal or expulsion from the University.

We will comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 with regard to religion and belief.

The LJMU Guidance Document for Religion and Belief can be found on the A-Z of Policies, Procedures and Guidance.

Sex: 

Sex is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. The Act gives protection to both men and women.

The University does not tolerate any form of sex discrimination which it recognises is unacceptable, discriminatory and unlawful, and is proactive in ensuring that people are treated fairly. This commitment is consistent with the significant progress that the University has already made in this area.

The University recognises the valuable contribution that can be made by staff and students regardless of their sex, in terms of qualities of experiences brought to learning, teaching, support services, research, consultancy, enterprise, widening participation, administration and management.

Sexual Orientation:


Sexual Orientation is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.  The Government Equalities Offices states that sexual orientation means a person's sexual orientation towards:

• persons of the same sex,
• persons of the opposite sex, or
• persons of either sex.

In relation to the protected characteristic of sexual orientation:

• a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person who is of a particular sexual orientation;
• a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who are of the same sexual orientation.

LJMU is committed to challenging discrimination and inequality with regard to sexual orientation in all its practices and activities. The Board of Governors and the University Strategic Management Group affirm their responsibility for implementing equality for everyone regardless of sexual orientation in all activities and responsibility of the University. This commitment is consistent with the significant progress the University has already made in this area.

The University will not tolerate any form of discrimination against anyone including people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual. To achieve this end, we will work to comply with all requirements in the Equality Act 2010 relating to sexual orientation.

LJMU continues to work with Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity.

Useful definitions under the Equality Act

Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010 states that direct discrimination occurs when a person  treats one person less favourably than they would another because of a protected characteristic.

Direct discrimination may occur if, for example if:

  • An HEI or student union decides not to interview a Muslim applicant for a job because it assumes, on the basis of their religion or belief, that he or she will not be prepared to work in a bar
  • An HEI only shortlists male job applicants for an interview because they assume women will not fit in
  • An HEI refuses to let a student go on a residential trip because they are a wheelchair-user
  • An HEI does not offer a training opportunity to an older member of staff because they assume that they would not be interested, and the opportunity is given to a younger worker (Equality Challenge Unit, 2010)

Direct discrimination by association: 


The Act makes it clear that discrimination occurs if an employer discriminates against an employee because of a protected characteristic, whether or not the employee possesses that characteristic. This means, for example, that it will be unlawful to discriminate against someone because they associate with a person who possesses a protected characteristic.

This kind of discrimination is already applicable to race, sexual orientation and religion or belief, and the same principle will also apply to age, disability, gender reassignment, sex and pregnancy and maternity. (Evershed, 2010)

Example of Direct Discrimination by Association:

  • A student, whose child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is refused access to a graduation ceremony because of fears about the child’s behaviour
  • An employee is overlooked for promotion because their partner has undergone gender reassignment (Equality Challenge Unit, 2010)

Discrimination by perception: 

 
 

     

The Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone because they are perceived to possess a particular protected characteristic, even if the employer is mistaken. This sort of discrimination by perception is already prohibited where discrimination is on the grounds of sexual orientation, age or race.  The same principle will also apply to sex, pregnancy, gender reassignment, and age and disability discrimination.

Example of direct discrimination by perception:

  • An employer decides not to promote a female employee because senior staff believe her to be pregnant irrespective of whether she is pregnant or not
  • A mental health and wellbeing officer refuses to work with a student because they believe the student to be gay irrespective of whether the student is gay or not (Equality Challenge Unit, 2010)

Combined discrimination:  
 

Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010 states that direct discrimination occurs when a person  treats one person less favourably than they would another Individuals who consider that they have been discriminated against because of a combination of protected characteristics can bring a claim of dual discrimination (Section 14, Equality Act 2010). The new concept applies to claims brought based on only a combination of two (2) protected characteristics. 

Example of combined discrimination:

  • A black female member of staff who is discriminated against because she is a black woman – as opposed to a black man or a white woman – could bring a single claim for combined race and sex discrimination. However, if she feels she is being discriminated against because she is black or because she is a woman, she could also bring a claim for race or sex discrimination on its own. This section of the Act is likely to be implemented from April 2011. (Equality Challenge Unit, 2010).

  • A black woman who is passed over for promotion to work on reception because her employer thinks black women do not perform well in customer service roles, whereas the employer would not feel the same way about a white woman or a black man. Which means it is the combination of being black and female which is the basis of discrimination. (Evershed, 2010)

Indirect discrimination: 
  

Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice is neutral on the face of it, but its impact particularly disadvantages people with a protected characteristic, unless the person applying the provision can justify it as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Ultimately, if tested, it will be for a court of law or tribunal to determine what is justifiable.

Indirect discrimination is unlawful in relation to the protected characteristics of age, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation, but not pregnancy and maternity. The Equality Act 2010 extends protection against unjustifiable indirect discrimination to gender reassignment and, more significantly disability.

Example of indirect discrimination:

  • An employer who requires staff to commit to working from 8pm to 11pm every evening indirectly discriminates against women, who are more likely to be primary carers of children, unless this can be objectively justified as above. (Equality Challenge Unit, Evershed, 2010).

Harassment: 

According to the Equality Act 2010, there are three types of harassment:

  • Unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the complainant, or violating the complainant's dignity
  • Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment)
  • Treating a person less favourably than another person because they have either submitted to, or did not submit to, sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment

Example of harassment:

  • A member of staff makes comments on a student’s sexuality in a way that makes the student feel uncomfortable.

The perceptions of the recipient of the harassment are very important and harassment can be deemed to have occurred even if the intention was not present, but the recipient felt they were being harassed.  A person can also make a complain of harassment even if it is not directed at them.  (Equality Challenge Unit, Evershed, 2010)

 Victimisation:


According to the Equality Act 2010, victimisation takes place where one person treats another less favourably because he or she has asserted their legal rights in line with the Act or helped someone else to do so.

Examples of victimisation:

  • A student alleges that they have encountered racism from a tutor, and as a result they are ignored by other staff member
  • A senior member of staff starts to behave in a hostile manner to another member of staff who previously supported a colleague in submitting a formal complaint against the senior manager for sexist behaviour
  • An employer brands an employee as a ‘troublemaker’ because they raised a lack of job-share opportunities as being potentially discriminatory (ECU,2010).

Breastfeeding: 

According to the Equality Act 2010, discrimination against a woman because she is breastfeeding is a case of sex discrimination.

A woman who is breastfeeding is now explicitly protected from unfavourable treatment in the areas of education and provision of services.

The University is committed to promoting an ethos that safeguards the dignity and well being of everyone and encourages practices that take into account the rights of individuals to be treated with dignity and respect. It will not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment and victimisation directed at anyone because of pregnancy or maternity. This commitment is consistent with the significant progress that the University has already made in this area.

The University recognises the valuable contribution that can be made by staff and students regardless of their protected characteristics, in terms of qualities of experiences brought to learning, teaching, support services, research, consultancy, enterprise, widening participation, administration and management.

Breast feeding:

How can LJMU Staff & Students learn more about Equality Act 2010?

Visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance for more information on the Equality Act 2010.