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Equal opportunities act to be introduced on October 1

The first wave of implementation of the Equality Act will take place on October 1 marking an attempt by the Government to simplify legislation for businesses.

On this date, the vast majority of the Act's provisions will come into force.

The aim of the act is to protect the rights of individuals and advance equal opportunities for all; to update, simplify and strengthen the previous legislation; and to deliver a "simple, modern and accessible framework of discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society".

Provisions coming into force on October 1:

 

• The basic framework of protection against direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation in services and public functions; premises; work; education; associations, and transport
• Changing the definition of gender reassignment, by removing the requirement for medical supervision
• Levelling up protection for people discriminated against because they are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has, a protected characteristic, so providing new protection for people like carers
• Clearer protection for breastfeeding mothers;
• Applying the European definition of indirect discrimination to all protected characteristics
• Extending protection from indirect discrimination to disability
• Introducing a new concept of “discrimination arising from disability”, to replace protection under previous legislation lost as a result of a legal judgment
• Applying the detriment model to victimisation protection (aligning with the approach in employment law)
• Harmonising the thresholds for the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people
• Extending protection from 3rd party harassment to all protected characteristics
• Making it more difficult for disabled people to be unfairly screened out when applying for jobs, by restricting the circumstances in which employers can ask job applicants questions about disability or health
• Allowing hypothetical comparators for direct gender pay discrimination
• Making pay secrecy clauses unenforceable
• Extending protection in private clubs to sex, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment.
• Introducing new powers for employment tribunals to make recommendations which benefit the wider workforce
• Harmonising provisions allowing voluntary positive action.

For information on the implications to your business click here.

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