Equality doesn’t mean that you must treat everyone equally. It simply means that everyone must be given the same opportunity regardless of:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage or civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sex and gender
- Sexual orientation.
Equality Act 2010
UK laws for equality are governed by the Equality Act 2010. Equality Act | Equality and Human Rights Commission (equalityhumanrights.com)
The Equality Act 2010 came into effect to simplify and replace all previous legislation surrounding equality and discrimination.
The Equality Act 2010 promotes equality and prohibits employers, public sectors, educational institutes, healthcare settings and service providers from discriminating against, harassing or victimising individuals with protected characteristics.
This means everyone because we all have protected characteristics!
Why do we need laws to protect us?
We need equality laws to ensure that everyone is treated fairly, with respect and that no one is discriminated against because of their protected characteristics.
Everyone has the right to develop to their full potential and all individuals should be treated fairly and be provided with equal opportunities with support to remove barriers of prejudice and discrimination.
You can read more research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
There are nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. It is illegal to discriminate against anyone with these characteristics.
Age – This is the age of a person or group.
Disability – This is people with a mental impairment or physical disability, whose lives are impacted because they are unable to conduct daily activities deemed as ‘normal’.
Gender reassignment – This is the transitioning from gender to gender. For example, male to female or female to male.
Marriage or civil partnership – This is the legal unison of two adults. Civil partnership consists of legal recognition of a same sex relationship.
Pregnancy and maternity – Pregnancy is a female expecting a baby. Maternity is the period after the birth of a child.
Race – Race is a group of people categorised by their biological physical appearance or social qualities. For example, the colour of a person’s skin or their nationality.
Religion or Belief – Religion describes the faith that a person follows. Belief suggests the philosophy of a person that influences their life choices.
Sex and Gender – This means male or female, man or woman.
Sexual orientation – This is the attraction a person feels towards someone from the opposite sex, same sex or sometimes both sexes.
Everyone in the workplace has rights.
Equality laws apply to everyone in the workplace:
- Permanent staff
- Temporary staff
- Business partners
Equality rights also belong to your customers and anyone using your services.
This means you must never discriminate against protected characteristics when advertising or selling your services and goods.