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Employment Law > Workplace Discrimination > The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010

Employment Solicitor Martin Malone looks at workplace discrimination, exploring the Equality Act 2010

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The Equality Act 2010 ("the Act") brings together and replaces previous legislation (such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995). Most of the Act came into effect in October 2010. This guidance note covers the main changes coming into effect, offering a general overview of the Act and how it specifically affects employees.

The Act is largely beneficial as it simplifies the law and ensures consistency to allow employees to be aware of their rights. The Act covers the same groups that were protected by the previous equality legislation; age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and, pregnancy and maternity.

However, these groups have now been renamed as "protected characteristics" and the Act has added further protection to some of the protected characteristics which was lacking in previous legislation. Protected characteristics will be discussed in more detail later in this guidance note.

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