Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the Staffnet siteSearch StaffNet
Search type

Equality groups

The University is a global institution that has a community of staff and students who come from across the UK and around the world to teach and learn. They bring with them diversity of thought, understanding, expectations and diversity of background, ethnicity, gender, ability, religion and belief and sexuality.

We celebrate individuals and their many identities and as part of our statutory obligation as a Higher Education Institution we have a public sector general equality duty as part of The Equality Act (2010). 

What is The Equality Act (2010)?

The Equality Act (2010) introduced a new public sector general equality duty that requires public authorities (including Higher Education Institutions) to tackle discrimination, victimisation and harassment, advance equality and foster good relations.

The Act places a general duty on all public sector organisations to have due regard to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The Act explains that having due regard for advancing equality involves:

  • Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics.
  • Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people.
  • Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.

Who does The Equality Act (2010) cover?

The equality duty covers the nine  equality groups referred to as protected characteristics:

  1. Age;
  2. Disability;
  3. Gender reassignment;
  4. Marriage and civil partnership (in relation to eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation in employment);
  5. Pregnancy and maternity;
  6. Race;
  7. Religion or belief;
  8. Sex;
  9. Sexual orientation.

How do we demonstrate our commitment?

We must demonstrate how we meet the general duty, in relation to each of the protected characteristics, in all our functions, including:

  • Employment;
  • Education;
  • Provision of facilities, goods and services.

How is The Equality Act (2010) enforced?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for assessing compliance with and enforcing the equality duty.   

At the University, we have a legal responsibility to assess activities and to set out how we will protect people from discrimination on the basis of their protected characteristics. We do this through Equality Impact Assessments (EIA).

The Equality Act (2010) legally protects people from discrimination (whether direct or indirect) and recognises nine distinct areas upon which discrimination is unlawful, referred to as protected characteristics. 

If you would like further information on protected characteristics or an equality issue please contact us.