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Equality and the Law

The legal system in our country upholds fairness in society, both in business and for individuals.

The main acts that cover equality and diversity are the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act.

The contemporary framework for equal rights protection in Britain can be traced back to the 1960s and 1970s. If you want to look for equality legislation prior to this then you would have to go all the way back to the Representation of the People Act in 1928, which finally gave equal voting rights to women.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.

Under the Act, people are not allowed to discriminate, harass or victimise another person because they have any of the protected characteristics.  

Find out more about the Equality Act 2010 guidance on GOV.UK.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission also has a guide to the Equality Act 2010.

The Public Sector Equality Duty

The Public Sector Equality Duty was created by the Equality Act 2010 and is made up of the general duty and the specific duty.

Compliance with the general equality duty is a legal obligation, but it also makes good business sense. An organisation that is able to provide services to meet the diverse needs of its customers should find that it carries out its core business more efficiently and effectively.

Find out more about the Public Sector Equality Duty

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has further information about Public Sector Equality Duty.

The Human Rights Act

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to everyone.

The Human Rights Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation for public authorities. Everyone who works in public authorities must act in a way that is compatible with this Act.

There are 16 basic rights that affect matters of life and death, like freedom from torture and killing. They also affect people’s rights in everyday life: what they can say and do, their beliefs, their right to a fair trial and many other similar basic entitlements.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has more information about human rights.

For advice and information in alternative formats you can contact us:


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