The Equality Act brings together nine big equality laws and about a hundred smaller laws. Bringing these laws together into one act makes it a lot easier for employers and other people to know what they must do.
The Equality Act also strengthens the previous equality laws by
- protecting more groups of people, like breast feeding mothers, older people and carers
- doing more to protect disabled people
- allowing employers to take extra steps to make sure their workers are diverse
- making sure clubs do not treat people unfairly
- asking public bodies to do more with the Public Sector Equality Duty.
The Equality Act and the new Public Sector Equality Duty
The Public Sector Equality Duty is part of the Equality Act. It applies to public sector organisations, like councils. It says that we must meet the needs of all individuals in the way we work, when shaping policy, delivering services and in relation to our own employees. We can play our part in making society fairer by tackling discrimination and providing equality of opportunity for all.
The public sector equality duty has three aims. We must show how we have worked to
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act.
- Improve equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
The ‘protected characteristics’ are covered by the equality duty are
- gender reassignment
- pregnancy and maternity
- race – this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality
- religion or belief – this includes lack of belief
- sex (men, women, boys and girls)
- sexual orientation
The duty applies to marriage and civil partnership too, but only in relation to the first aim (to eliminate unlawful discrimination).
What Brighton & Hove City Council is doing
We've published a new equalities and inclusion policy which includes our equalities objective for the next four years.
We provide training for our staff about the Equality Act.
We carry out equalities monitoring to ensure our policies and services affect people fairly.
We are continuing to produce equality impact assessments for our services. Each service will be re-evaluated every three years or before that if a major change proposed to the service.
Our new people strategy will provide information about the people we employ and what we are doing to make sure we address equalities issues for our staff. We will also include information from our staff survey.
More about the Equality Act