This is a summary of some of the key UK legislation:
The Equality Act 2010 brought more than 116 separate pieces of legislation into one single Act. The Act aims to simplify, strengthen and harmonise previous legislation, providing a new discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.
A summary and useful guidance on different aspects of the Act are available on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website:
Specific Public Sector Equality Duties
The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 (the Regulations) came into force on 10 September 2011. The Regulations set out the specific public sector equality duties that certain public bodies must comply with.
The aim of the specific duties is to help public bodies comply with the general duty to promote equality in the workplace contained in the Equality Act 2010, which has been in force since 5 April 2011.
General Equality Duty
The general single equality duty requires public bodies, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between those who share or have different protected characteristics.
The duty explains that having due regard for advancing equality involves:
- Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
- Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people
- Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.
This was fully implemented in 2000. The relevant articles for employment are article 8, which guarantees privacy for someone’s home life and correspondence and which underpins the Data Protection Act. Articles 10 and 11 guarantee freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Individuals who consider they have been a victim of a human rights violation should not have to suffer further difficulties.