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The Equality Act (2010) and the Public Sector Equality Duty

The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010. The Equality Act replaced several previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act. Combined, they make up a new Act that provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.

The Act simplifies, strengthens and harmonises the current legislation to provide Britain with a new discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.

View the full Equality Act here

The Act defines what is known as “protected characteristics”.  It against the law to discriminate against anyone (including prospective staff and students) covered by any of the following characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Sex

There is also protection against discrimination where someone is perceived to have one of the protected characteristics or where they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic.


A public sector equality duty came into force on 6 April 2011. In the exercise of its functions, the duty requires the University to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
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