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Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 protects children, young people and adults against discrimination, harassment and victimisation in relation to housing, education, clubs, the provision of services and work. Discrimination is broadly unfair treatment related to:

    • age (under-18s are only protected against age discrimination in relation to work);
    • disability;
    • gender reassignment;
    • marriage and civil partnership (with some restrictions);
    • pregnancy and maternity;
    • race;
    • religion or belief;
    • sex;
    • sexual orientation.

These are called “protected characteristics”.

The public sector equality duty in Section 149 of the Equality Act requires public bodies, including local authorities, schools and hospitals, to take active steps to eliminate discrimination and to do positive things to promote equality.

Advancing equality of opportunity includes having due regard to the need to:

  • remove or minimise disadvantage associated with a protected characteristic;
  • taking steps to meet the needs of individuals who share a protected characteristic (where these are different from others); and
  • encouraging persons who share a protected characteristic to participate in public life or in any other activity where participation by that group of people is disproportionately low.

Read our guide to the Equality Act