Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010 and legally protects people from discrimination in the workforce and in wider society.

The Act has replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it's unlawful to treat someone.


The protected characteristics under the Equality Act are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender re-assignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation


The public sector Equality Duty came into force across Great Britain on 5 April 2011. It means that public bodies have to consider all individuals when carrying out their day-to-day work in shaping policy, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees.


It also requires that public bodies: 

  • have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination
  • advance equality of opportunity
  • foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities