Commission welcomes new Equality Act 2010

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has today welcomed the new Equality Act.  The new legislation, most of which comes into force today (1 October 2010), brings together a number of existing laws into one place making it easier to understand and put into practice. It extends protection to most people in the country and will help to make a fairer, more equal society.

Everyone is protected by the new law; it covers age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex (meaning gender) and sexual orientation.  Under the Act people are not allowed to discriminate, harass or victimise another person because they belong to a group that the Act protects, they are thought to belong to one of those groups or are associated with someone who does.

Kaliani Lyle, Scotland Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland said:
"The new Equality Act is a strong foundation on which to build a fair and equal society. Simplifying legislation and extending protection to a wide range of groups that face discrimination will help us improve public services, and help business perform well. As well as making the legislation easier to understand, there will be new measures to help build fairness and tackle inequality/discrimination.  It might seem like a lot of small changes but they add up to a big difference, not just in how public services are provided but also to the way in which people can expect to be treated. In short, the Equality Act helps put fairness at the heart of what we do at work, at school, when using the public services we all need like hospitals, transport, housing and social care.

The Commission is here to help people understand and implement the new legislation and have a range of advice and guidance materials available to all.  Anyone wishing more information can call our helpline or visit our website.”


For more press information contact the Commission’s media office on 07970787234.

For general enquiries please contact the Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.
Notes to Editors

The Act brings together for the first time all the legal requirements on equality that the private, public and voluntary sectors need to follow.

It affects equality at work and in delivering public services and running clubs.

It replaces over one hundred pieces of equality legislation including:
• The Equal Pay Act 1970
• The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
• The Race Relations Act 1976
• The Disability Discrimination Act 1995

To coincide with the launch of the Act we have released an online starter guide to the legislation for employers and service providers.  The guide contains nine bite-size modules which set out the essential points of the legislation.
The starter guide and more information on the Equality Act 2010 can be found on our website -

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act.  It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals. 

Last Updated: 30 Sep 2010