Positive action

Under the Equality Act 2010, positive action means action that is taken to encourage certain groups, for example women or people from a particular racial minority, to take advantage of opportunities for employment if the purpose is to tackle their underrepresentation in a particular field.

Positive action is permissible under the Equality Act 2010. Examples of positive action include stating in the advertisement that applications from women are particularly welcome and using types of media for advertising that are likely to be seen by members of a particular racial or religious group.

Positive action, which is lawful, should be distinguished from positive discrimination, which is unlawful.


Jon Holmes, the comedian and radio presenter, claimed the BBC's diversity drive meant he lost his jobAdrian Sherratt/REX/Shutterstock

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Matt Baker and Alex Jones on The One Show – A memo suggested a new reporter should be northern and from an ethnic minority. Photo: David Bebber/REX/Shutterstock

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How employers can take positive action to increase workforce diversity

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To what extent can employers take positive action in recruitment or promotion to increase workforce diversity? Ashok Kanani reviews the...

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Employment lawyer Linda Stewart looks at possible measures to improve judicial diversity.While the percentage of women and black, Asian and...

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I’d like to provide more opportunities for women to work in my heavily male-dominated business, and I understand that new...

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Positive action provisions could have negative effect

8 Mar 2011

Positive action will enable employers to provide preferential treatment during the hiring process, but is this a good thing? Jackie...

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Legal Q&A: Positive action under the Equality Act 2010

3 Feb 2011

Q What is positive action?Positive action is one of the Government’s range of measures aimed at ending discrimination in the...

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Equality Act 2010: Government implements positive action provisions

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The Government has confirmed that provisions on positive action will be implemented on 6 April, under the Equality Act 2010.A...

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Government issues guidance on Equality Act positive action provisions

13 Jan 2011

The Government has published guidance for employers on how to deal with the Equality Act’s positive action provisions, and has...

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Equality Act: positive action and changes to discrimination law

10 Jun 2010

The Equality Act aims to let employers use positive action to boost workforce diversity. Daniel Thomas examines that and other...

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Friday Podcast: Positive action and the Equality Act; public sector pay transparency

4 Jun 2010

HR news and analysis including:

Positive action in the light of the coalition government and the Equality Act
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Positive action in recruitment opposed by most firms

19 Apr 2010

Four out of five firms oppose using positive action in recruitment – a key clause in the Equality Act to...

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Equality Act will not increase positive action in recruitment, say industry experts

9 Apr 2010

Industry experts have poured cold water on government hopes that the new Equality Act will encourage employers to take positive...

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