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Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Equality Act 2010

Major changes in legislation about equality and diversity are coming into force from October. Dave Pinwell, SUSTAiN’s Chief Executive Officer, presents the key points.

Diversity GraphicI went to a briefing last week on the Equality Act 2010. I must admit that this forthcoming legislation had sneaked up on me, three months short of becoming law and I had not caught up with what it was about sufficiently.

We all need to make sure we are up to speed with it by the time October comes to call and the new legislation cuts in, replacing a number of previous Acts (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995).

Some of the changes include:

  • there are now nine strands of equality rather than six
  • employees will now be able to complain of harassment even if it is not directed at them, if they can demonstrate that it creates an offensive environment for them
  • claims for discrimination on dual grounds are to to be permitted
  • positive discrimination between two equal candidates at interview will be permitted.

By October it will necessary for organisations to review their approach to equalities and as necessary:

  • review equality policies and monitoring procedures
  • brief trustees, staff and volunteers
  • consider the need for any additional training.

Materials supporting the new Act can be somewhat heavy going. Check out, for instance, www.equalities.gov.uk, where you can digest over 250 pages of the Act itself and over 200 pages of supporting explanatory notes. Even the ‘easy read’ version runs to 38 pages!

Help will be at hand, though. SUSTAiN will be briefing the sector in more detail. It would help to know whether there is demand for workshops on the subject. If you are interested, let Tina know via tinab@solihull-sustain.org.uk.

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