Equality Act 2010: six updates for your equal opportunities policy






For a limited time only, Personnel Today Plus members can access a full model policy on equal opportunities which takes the Equality Act 2010 into account


With elements of the Equality Act coming into force at the end of next week, XpertHR provides members of Personnel Today Plus with six key updates for your equal opportunities policy.



  1. Introduce the policy by saying that it is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly in recruitment or employment because of any of the nine “protected characteristics” in the Equality Act 2010. These are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

     


  2. Stress that the Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for staff to discriminate directly or indirectly, or harass customers or clients because of the protected characteristics of disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services. Although discrimination in the provision of goods and services because of age is not yet covered by the Equality Act 2010, include it as a matter of good practice.

     


  3. Allow for the concept of associative discrimination in the Equality Act 2010, which is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed for association with another individual who has a protected characteristic (although this does not cover harassment because of marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity).

     


  4. Make clear that perceptive discrimination is covered in the Equality Act 2010. This is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed based on a perception that he or she has a particular protected characteristic when he or she does not, in fact, have that protected characteristic (although this does not cover harassment because of marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity).

     


  5. Ensure that your statement on third-party harassment is up to date. Third-party harassment occurs where an employee is harassed and the harassment is related to a protected characteristic (although this does not cover harassment because of marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity), by third parties such as clients or customers. For an employer to be liable, the harassment must have occurred on at least two previous occasions; it must be aware that the previous harassment has taken place; and it must have failed to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment from happening again.

     


  6. Update your definition of victimisation to tally with the Equality Act 2010. Victimisation occurs when an employee is subjected to a detriment, such as being denied a training opportunity or a promotion because he or she made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act 2010, or because he or she is suspected of doing so, or being about to do so. The definition is no longer based on less favourable treatment.

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