Equality and human rights resources for advisers

Advice and Guidance

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    • Great Britain

      Great Britain

The resources and links on this page are available on the Commission’s website and from selected sources. These pages aim to bring those materials together in one place for advisers, so that you don’t have to search for them.

Please note, references to the Equality Act 2010 are to the main provisions only, other exceptions, schedules and provisions could apply depending on the particular context of your query.  

You are advised to contact our telephone support service, EHRC Adviser Support, if you are in any doubt.

Important legislation

The main laws that are relevant to equality and human rights cases.

If you need help or advice, please call the EHRC adviser support helpline

Handbooks

A brief overview of the Equality Act 2010 for advisers and guidance on quantifying discrimination claims.

Codes of practice and technical guidance

Our Codes of Practice are statutory Codes, issued under section 14 of the Equality Act 2006. This means they have been approved by the Secretary of State and laid before Parliament. Tribunals and courts must take into account any part of the Code that appears to them relevant to any questions arising in proceedings.

Our Technical Guidance was prepared and issued on the basis of its powers to provide information and advice under s13 of the Equality Act 2006. They are not statutory codes, however they can still be used in evidence, and if education providers follow them, the codes will help them to avoid having adverse decisions made against them in legal proceedings.

The public sector equality duty consists of a general equality duty and specific duties, which help authorities to meet the general duty.

The aim of the general equality duty is to incorporate equality considerations into the day-to-day business of public authorities. Those subject to the equality duty must have due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a characteristic and those who don't
  • foster good relations between people who share a characteristic and those who don't

There are additional, specific duties which apply to devolved public authorities in Wales and Scotland. Please see our country-specific codes.

For more information, see our section on the PSED below.

If you need help or advice, please call the EHRC adviser support helpline

Search by subject

We've brought together advice and guidance on some of the most common subjects. Please contact us if you can’t find the information you need, need further guidance, or to tell us about any other topics you’d like to see featured.

You will find information about the following topics below:

Human rights

If you need help or advice, please call the EHRC adviser support helpline

Services and public functions

For the legal provisions see part 3 of the Equality Act 2010 (legislation.gov.uk, external link), see part 4 for Premises, part 7 for Associations, part 12 for Disabled persons transport and the relevant schedules to the Act referred to in these parts. (Please note, there are numerous schedules to the Act.)

References to the Equality Act 2010 are to the main provisions only, other exceptions, schedules and provisions could apply depending on the particular context of your query. Discrimination law can be very complex, please contact EHRC Adviser Support to discuss your query.

Some other guidance you may find useful:

See paragraphs 7.59, 11.51 to 11.52 and 13.104 of the code on services (note that the code on services does not deal with transport services).  

See part 12 of the Equality Act 2010:

New – Regulations regarding exemptions for taxi drivers:

Equality Act 2010 (Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles) (Passengers in Wheelchairs - Notices of Exemption) Regulations 2017/342

See our quick guide to reasonable adjustments in transport.

Please note, references to the Equality Act 2010 are to the main provisions only, other exceptions, schedules and provisions could apply depending on the particular context of your query.

Discrimination law can be very complex, please contact EHRC Adviser Support to discuss your query.


 

See our guide to human rights in home care:

  • pages 12 to 17 for human rights
  • pages 19 to 29 for help on how to complain

If you need help or advice, please call the EHRC adviser support helpline

Education

The Commission is currently running a project to provide legal support in education cases. If your client would benefit from this support please contact our education team:

There is no code of practice for schools, instead we have technical guidance. This technical guidance covers the Equality Act 2010.

Schools complaints can be complicated and you are encouraged to contact us if you are new to dealing with discrimination in schools. You may find it more helpful to look at our technical guidance first before looking at the legislation.

Legislation

For the relevant Equality legislation on discrimination in schools see Equality Act 2010, Part 6 (on legislation.gov.uk, external link), Sections 84-89 and 98 and Schedule 10 (accessibility for disabled pupils), 11 (schools, exceptions), 13 (education, reasonable adjustments) and 14 (educational charities and endowments).

Please note, references to the Equality Act 2010 are to the main provisions only, other exceptions, schedules and provisions could apply depending on the particular context of your query.

Discrimination law can be very complex, please contact EHRC Adviser Support to discuss your query.

Human rights in Education

Technical Guidance

There is technical guidance for England, Scotland and Wales:

These guides are written for schools but contain useful information about what schools should do to meet their duties, and may be helpful in advising an individual.

Education providers

There is no code of practice for higher and further education providers, however this document provides information about the steps education providers should take to meet their duties under the Equality Act 2010 and may be used in working out whether an education provider has met their duties in respect of your client.

For higher education legislative provisions see Equality Act 2010, Part 6 (legislation.gov.uk, external link) sections 90-94 and schedules 12 (further and high education, exceptions), 13 (education, reasonable adjustments) and 14 (educational charities and endowments).

Please note, references to the Equality Act 2010 are to the main provisions only, other exceptions, schedules and provisions could apply depending on the particular context of your query.

Discrimination law can be very complex, please contact EHRC Adviser Support to discuss your query.

Our guidance for students

How to use Prevent

Gender segregation

The guide covers the legal obligations under equality law that universities and students’ unions have in relation to gender segregation at events and meetings.

For the law on qualifications bodies, see sections 95 to 97, 98 to 99, and schedule 13 of the Equality Act 2010 (legislation.gov.uk, external link).

The technical guidance, above, deals with qualifications bodies at appendix 1 (General) and appendix 2 (qualifications bodies duties).

Please note, references to the Equality Act 2010 are to the main provisions only, other exceptions, schedules and provisions could apply depending on the particular context of your query.

Discrimination law can be very complex, please contact EHRC Adviser Support to discuss your query.

If you need help or advice, please call the EHRC adviser support helpline

Employment

Please note, references to the Equality Act 2010 are to the main provisions only, other exceptions, schedules and provisions could apply depending on the particular context of your query.

Discrimination law can be very complex, please contact EHRC Adviser Support to discuss your query.

See part 5 of the Equality Act 2010 (legislation.gov.uk, external link) for the provisions on work. If you’re using the act, check whether any schedules are also relevant. You may find it helpful to look at the code of practice and supplement first if you are unfamiliar with the area of law.

Direct discrimination

Exceptions

Justifiable direct discrimination because of age:

Occupational Requirements

Indirect discrimination

Disability Arising from Discrimination

Failure to make reasonable adjustments:

Pregnancy discrimination

Harassment

Victimisation

Causing or inducing Discrimination and instructions to discriminate

See the following sections of the Equality Act 2010:

See the employment code of practice, paragraphs 9.16 to 9.24, pages 113 to 115. 

Relationships that have ended

If you need help or advice, please call the EHRC adviser support helpline

Public sector equality duty (PSED)

If you need help or advice, please call the EHRC adviser support helpline

Positive action is when measures are taken to increase the participation of underrepresented groups, which do not unlawfully discriminate against another group, and is lawful.

Positive discrimination is treating one group more favourably than another and is unlawful.

Positive action in employment

General guidance on positive action

Positive action in services

Positive action in Education

Please see our technical guidance on education section, above, which contain sections on positive action.

If you need help or advice, please call the EHRC adviser support helpline

Resolving complaints

See Equality Act 2010, part 9 (legislation.gov.uk, external link) for enforcement, time limits and which court:

  • see chapter 3 for employment tribunals
  • see chapter 2 for services, public functions and education
  • see chapter 4 for Equality of terms including pensions
  • see also chapter 5 for miscellaneous provisions

Please note, references to the Equality Act 2010 are to the main provisions only, other exceptions, schedules and provisions could apply depending on the particular context of your query.

Discrimination law can be very complex, please contact EHRC Adviser Support to discuss your query.

The deadline for bringing a claim in employment is three months less one day unless the claim is about equal pay or redundancy, in which case it’s six months less one day. Your claim will not be accepted unless you have an early conciliation certificate from ACAS. Please see the ACAS website for more information.

Note: equal pay claims can also be brought in the civil courts, the deadline for bringing an equal pay claim in the civil courts is 6 years. Please see paragraph 133 of the supplement to the equal pay code of practice.

Codes of practice

The deadline for bringing a school’s disability discrimination case is six months less one day in the first tier tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability (England), the Special Educational Needs Tribunal (Wales) or the Additional Support Needs Tribunals (Scotland).

The deadline for bringing a schools case, other than disability, in the county court or Sheriff Court is 6 months less one day.

The deadline for bringing a further and higher education case in the county court or Sheriff Court is 6 months less one day.

For schools cases in England see Chapter 8 of the Technical Guidance for Schools in England in our Codes and Technical Guidance section above.

For schools cases in Scotland see Chapter 8 of the Technical Guidance for Schools in Scotland in our Codes and Technical Guidance section above.

For schools cases in Wales see Chapter 6 of the Guide ‘What Equality Law Means For You As An Education Provider: Schools’ in our Education section above.

For further and higher education cases see Chapter 8 of the Technical Guidance for further and higher education, above in our Codes and Technical Guidance section above.

Last updated: 25 Jun 2018