Equality Act 2010

It is against the law to treat someone unkindly because of their gender, race, sexual orientation or disability

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination based on 'protected characteristics'. This includes:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race - this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality
  • Religion or belief
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation 

What the act prevents

Direct discrimination

This is when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of:

  • A protected characteristic.
  • A link or connection with a protected characteristic.
  • A false accusation of having protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination

This happens when:

  • A rule or policy affecting everyone disadvantages people with a protected characteristic.
  • Someone is harassed or victimised because of their disability. 

Other changes

Positive action

Some people with protected characteristics are disadvantaged or under-represented in some areas of life, or have unique needs. They may need extra help or encouragement to get the same chances as everyone else. Positive action helps public sector organisations to support people with needs linked to a protected characteristic.

Breastfeeding mothers

If a woman breastfeeding in a public space is asked to leave because they are breastfeeding, it is discrimination. This is against the law.  

Useful Information

Equality Act 2010 Summary Guide to your rights

Equality Act 2010 Guide for Voluntary Organisations

Equality Act 2010 Guide for Businesses who provide goods and services

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