Under the Equality Act 2006, public authorities have a statutory duty under UK law to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment on grounds of gender and to promote equality of opportunity between men and women. This shifts the burden of ensuring compliance with equal opportunities legislation from employees to employers, in recognition of the fact that, despite 30 years of individual
legal rights, there is still, regrettably, widespread inequality in the workplace.
The definition of “public authority” is wide and includes any employer which has functions of a public nature, i.e. private sector employers carrying out functions on behalf of a public authority. Accordingly, a public authority outsourcing its functions will have to ensure both that it has due regard to gender equality in the procurement process and that the contractor discharges the duty
throughout the contract.
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