Equality and human rights resources for advisers

Published: 11 February 2019

Last updated: 11 February 2019

What countries does this apply to?

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales

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.

Equality Act 2010

Human Rights Act 1998

Equality Act 2006: the Commission's powers and duties

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.

Handbook for advisers in England, Wales and Scotland

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.

Education

Employment

Public sector equality duty (PSED)

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.

Services

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

Legislation

Basic guidance

Freedom of expression and hate speech

  • guidance on the freedom of expression legal framework
  • advice and guidance on freedom of expression

Religion or belief

Our employer's guide to religion or belief in the workplace, including:

Education

Home care

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

Services and public functions

Services, public functions and associations

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:

  • your rights to equality from businesses providing goods, facilities or services to the public
  • your rights to equality from voluntary and community sector organisations (including charities and religion or belief organisations)
  • your rights to fly: what you need to know

Transport

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.

Housing

The main provisions of the Equality Act 2010 which are relevant to housing are listed below, however other provisions may have effect depending on the circumstances of the case. Please contact the EHRC Adviser Support Service to discuss your query.

Equality Act 2010: premises provisions (legislation.gov.uk, external link) 

See our guidance:

We have also commissioned Citizens Advice to produce guidance on discrimination in housing. 

Health care

  • your rights to equality from healthcare and social care services

Social care

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

Schools

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.

  • what equality law means for you as an education provider: schools
  • public sector equality duty guidance for schools in England

Further and higher education

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

  • what equality law means for you as a student in further or higher education

How to use Prevent

  • a guide for higher education providers in Wales on how to use equality and human rights law in the context of Prevent
  • a guide for higher education providers in England on how to use equality and human rights law in the context of 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.

  • gender segregation at events and meetings: guidance for universities and students' unions

Qualification bodies

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.

We have also commissioned Citizens Advice to produce guidance for advisers on discrimination in the workplace. 

Legislation

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.

Codes of practice

Protected characteristics

This section explains the definitions of the different characteristics which are protected under the Equality Act 2010.

Protected characteristics and discrimination

For the definition of disability:

Gender reassignment

Prohibited conduct

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

Recruitment

Pre-employment health checks

Exceptions to the general rule prohibiting disability or health-related questions:

Our publications:

For the definition of disability see section 6 and schedule 1 of the Equality Act 2010:

Guidance on the definition of disability (GOV.UK, external link).

Discriminatory adverts

See section 39 of the Equality Act 2010 (legislation.gov.uk, external link), which should be read in conjunction with paragraph 10.8, page 121 of the employment code of practice.

Only the Commission can take enforcement action against a person who placed a discriminatory advertisement, however the fact of a discriminatory advertisement can be used in evidence in a discrimination claim.

Commission's guides to your rights at work

  • your rights to equality at work: training, development, promotion and transfer
  • your rights to equality at work: how you are managed
  • your rights to equality at work: dismissal, redundancy, retirement and after you have left a job
  • your rights to equality at work: pay and benefits

Pregnancy and maternity

Advisers may also find it useful to visit our pregnancy and maternity pages.

Religion or belief

See section 10 of the Equality Act 2010 (legislation.gov.uk, external link).

See chapter 2, pages 39 to 41 of the employment code and supplement and paragraph 2.6.1, and 4.20 of the supplement.

Our employer's guide to religion or belief in the workplace, including:

Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014: religious or belief bodies.

Marriage and civil partnerships

  • Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013: quick guide
  • Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013: workplaces and service delivery
  • Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013: implications for religious authorities
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014: guidance on the equality and human rights implications for workplaces and service delivery in Scotland 

Equal pay

See the Equality Act 2010: 

See our code of practice and supplement on equal pay.

See gender pay gap reporting regulations.  

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

Public sector equality duty (PSED)

General guidance for the PSED in Great Britain

  • the essential guide to the public sector equality duty
  • easy read explanation of the public sector duty: a law about making things better for people from different groups
  • your rights to equality from local councils, government departments and immigration

Guidance for public authorities

This guide is for public authorities and explains more about how authorities could set objectives for themselves to help fulfil their duties under the PSED:

  • objectives and the equality duty: a guide for public authorities
  • engagement and the equality duty: a guide for public authorities

PSED in England

PSED in Scotland

There are many useful publications and guides about the PSED in Scotland.

PSED in Wales

We also have some specific pages about the public sector equality duty in Wales.

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.

Employment

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 dayYour 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

Services, public functions and associations

The deadline for bringing a claim in the County Court or Sheriff Court for goods, facilities, services and public functions is six months less one day.

Code of practice

You may also find these resources helpful:

Education

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.

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