The Equality Act (2010) and the Public Sector Equality Duty
The Equality Act (2010) has introduced a new public sector general equality duty that requires public authorities (including HEI’s) to tackle discrimination, victimisation and harassment, advance equality and foster good relations.
The equality duty covers the following equality groups and these are referred to as 'protected characteristics':
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership (in relation to eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation in employment)
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
The Act places a general equality duty on all public sector organisations and identifies a series of specific duties that are designed to help them meet their general duty.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for assessing compliance with and enforcing the equality duty.