On 8 April 2010 the Equality Bill received Royal Assent and became the Equality Act 2010.
The Act consolidates all existing discrimination legislation and brings them all under one single Act.
The main provisions of the Act will come into force in October 2010 with the public sector equality duty and dual discrimination provisions being delayed until April next year and still other provisions later than that. Obviously, the timetable will be contingent on the outcome of the forthcoming general election.
A useful guide to the Act can be found here:
Some key changes in the Act are:
- extension of the concept of indirect discrimination in disability cases and a new concept of discrimination arising from disability which not require a comparator;
- outlawing discrimination by association, giving effect the ECJ decision in Coleman v Attridge Law;
- restrictions on employers asking about health and disability before deciding whether to offer employment;
- allowing positive discrimination in favour of disadvantaged groups;
- extending protection form indirect discrimination to gender reassignment