Equality Act

Notes on the equality act

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  • Created by: Jem
  • Created on: 26-04-13 16:17

The Equality Act

Majority of provisions came into force in October 2010. Reformed discrimination law to be in one place and contained in one Act.  It has simpler language, which is easier to understand and access.  It is now easier to bring a claim, and the law is stronger in some areas.  Public bodies are now well aware of what is legal and illegal

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Main Aims of the Equality Act

  •          Replace large number of Acts with a single Act governing discrimination.
  •          Simplify discrimination law
  •          Place new equality duty on public bodies.
  •          Ban age discrimination outside the workplace.
  •          Deal with the problem of unequal pay.
  •          Protect carers from discrimination.
  •          Protect breastfeeding mothers from discrimination.
  •          Strengthen the protection for disabled people.
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Characteristics Protected by the Act

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Re-assignment
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy or Maternity
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The Equality Act

An individual needs to have one or more of the protected characteristics to claim protection”

This is where Art. 14 is superior; it is not as limited as the Equality Act.

S.11 of the Equality Act:

a reference to a person who has a particular characteristic is a reference to a man or a woman.

Gill v El Vino: women treated less favourably-not provided a choice as men were.

Test-Achats: gender can’t be used to determine insurance risk despite statistical evidence.

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Definitions within the Equality Act

S.9 Equality Act:

Race includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origin”

ethnic origin’-widens meaning of racial group.

Mandla v Dowell Lee: Sikhs held to be a racial group as they fell under definition of ethnic group.

Two elements to be classed as a race:

·         A long shared history of which the group is conscious

·         A cultural tradition of its own including family and social customs.

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Definitions within the Equality Act

Dawkins v Department of Environment: Rastafarians not a race; no long shared history.  Two more factors set down in establishing a group as a race:

·         A common geographical origin

·         A common language; literature and religion

R (on the application of E) v The Jewish Free School Governing Body: Jews classed as an ethnic group; so the case was one of racial discrimination.

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Definitions within the Equality Act

S.6 Equality Act: A person has a disability if;

·         They have a physical or mental impairment AND

·         The impairment has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

Equality Act has made it easier for a person to prove they are disabled.

Goodwin v The Patent Office: Employment Appeal Tribunal, or EAT, considered the meaning of disability.  A case should be looked at in reference to four conditions:

  •  Does the applicant have a physical or mental impairment?
  •  Does the impairment affect their ability to carry out normal day to day activities?
  •  Is the adverse effect ‘substantial’?
  •   Is the adverse effect long term?
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