In this issue of our employment and HR newsletter, we focus on the new legislation that has come into force this year and we highlight future legislation. It is clear to all that the Equality Act 2010 which came into force on 1 October 2010 is this year’s key legislative change. We cut through the hyperbole to highlight what it really means for employers. We also look ahead to future proposed legislation and the coalition Government’s employment law agenda in the ‘Under Discussion’ section below.
The Equality Act 2010
The purpose of the Equality Act 2010 is to harmonise and strengthen discrimination law. On 1 October 2010, the coalition Government implemented most of its provisions without any amendments. Although a lot has been written about the Act, in reality it does not change a great deal but the devil is in the detail. For example, it remains unlawful to discriminate because of age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation (the ‘protected characteristics’) but there are also new concepts of indirect disability discrimination and discrimination arising from disability. We set out below the Act’s main provisions and key changes...
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