The Equality Act came into force in 2010 and makes you potentially liable for the harassment of your employees.
Employers should review their equality policies and update them to reflect the changes in the Act.
Are you compliant? The penalties can be severe. It is the new law that bans unfair treatment and helps achieve equal opportunities both in the workplace and in wider society.
The act replaces previous anti-discrimination laws with one single law to make it simpler and to remove inconsistencies; thus making the law easier for people to understand and comply. The act also strengthens protection in certain situations.
The Equality act covers nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly and protects everyone against unfair treatment. The protected characteristics are:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
The Equality Act sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone, such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation and failing to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person. It also prohibits unfair treatment in the workplace when providing goods, services and facilities.