The Equality Act 2010 codifies the anti-discrimination legislation into one statute concerning inequality and discrimination at work. The intention was to harmonize discrimination law and to strengthen the law to support progress on equality.

We can advise and help you if you are being discriminated against, harassed, victimised or abused at work.

The main provisions of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010.

Much of the case law which pre-dates the Equality Act 2010 will continue to be relevant.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission produced a Statutory Code of Practice relating to employment in 2011 .


Protected characteristics

Section 9 of the Equality Act 2010 sets out nine protected characteristics. These are grounds upon which it is unlawful to discriminate against those who fall within the scope of the discrimination legislation.

These are:

• Age
• Disability
• Sex
• Race
• Religion or belief
• Pregnancy and maternity
• Civil Partnership and Marriage
• Gender reassignment
• Sexual orientation


Prohibited Conduct

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits the following conduct:

• Direct Discrimination - Section 13
• Indirect Discrimination  -Section 19
• Discrimination arising from a disability - Section 15
• Harassment - Section 26
• Victimization - Section 27
• Failure to make reasonable adjustments - Section 21


Direct Discrimination

This is the most common discrimination and involves a two stage test:

Was a person treated less favourably than an actual or hypothetical person was or would have been treated in circumstances that were the same or not materially different and if so, was that less favourable treatment because of a protected characteristic.


Indirect Discrimination

This occurs where everybody is treated in the same way but the results of this impact differently upon those holding a protected characteristic.


Discrimination arising from a disability

Disabled persons are protected from unfavourable treatment arising from their disability where the same cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.



This includes harassment which is related to a protected characteristic; sexual harassment; and less favourable treatment arising from sexual harassment.



This prohibits an employer retaliating against an employee who has done a protected act or where it is considered that a person has done or may do a protected act.

Protected acts include: bringing proceeds under the Equality Act 2010; giving evidence or information in connection with proceedings under the Equality Act 2012; making allegations that a person has contravened the Equality Act 2010.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments in relation to disabled persons in certain circumstances

A failure to comply with the three requirements set out in Section 20(3) of the Equality Act 2010 amounts to a failure to make reasonable adjustments. These include putting a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage through either a provision, criterion, practice, physical feature or provision of an auxiliary aid.


Time limits for bringing a claim

You need to be aware that the standard time limit for bringing a discrimination claim is three months from the act complained of. If the act or acts extended over a period of time then time will run from the date of the last act complained of.


Remedies in Discrimination Cases

The employment tribunal may make an award of compensation which may include compensation for injury to feelings and if appropriate, injury to health.

This award of compensation may be increased or decreased up to a maximum of 25% where the employer or employee fails to comply with the ACAS Code of Practice.


We can advise you regarding all aspects of your discrimination claim. Please contact us in the first instance by completing our employment contact form.