Government makes order confirming 1 October Equality Act implementation

The Government has confirmed that the main provisions of the Equality Act 2010 will come into force on 1 October 2010, and has made transitional provisions concerning discriminatory acts occurring before 1 October. 

On 1 October, the elements of the Equality Act 2010 that will come into force include:

  • the definition of the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation;
  • provisions prohibiting discrimination in employment;
  • the prohibition of direct discrimination, which is less favourable treatment because of a protected characteristic, including less favourable treatment because of an association with someone who has a protected characteristic or a mistaken belief that someone has a protected characteristic;
  • the prohibition of indirect discrimination, which is where a provision, criterion or practice is discriminatory in relation to a protected characteristic, and the extension of indirect discrimination to disability;
  • the prohibition of discrimination arising from disability, which is unfavourable treatment because of something arising in consequence of a disability;
  • the duty to make reasonable adjustments where a provision, criterion or practice or physical feature puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people;
  • the duty to take reasonable steps to provide an auxiliary aid where a disabled person is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people;
  • the prohibition of harassment, which is unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, and the extension of third-party harassment to all the relevant protected characteristics;
  • the prohibition of victimisation, which is detrimental treatment because a person does a protected act or an employer believes that he or she has or may do a protected act; and
  • the prohibition on asking job applicants about their health prior to offering them a job or including them in a shortlist. 

The Government has made a number of transitional provisions. The order confirms that discriminatory acts committed wholly before 1 October 2010 are covered by legislation in force prior to 1 October, but that acts committed before 1 October and continuing thereafter are covered by the Equality Act 2010. Guidance on matters to be taken into account in determining questions relating to the definition of disability applies until new guidance is implemented. 


Outlook video: Equality Act - disability XpertHR's head of content Jo Stubbs and group editor David Shepherd discuss changes to the law on disability discrimination that will be brought in by the Equality Act 2010. 

Harassment and the Equality Act 2010: overview The XpertHR topic of the week series on harassment looks at how the Equality Act 2010 widens the definition of harassment and extends liability on employers for third-party harassment. 

Disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 In this article, we take a detailed look at how the Equality Act 2010 deals with disability discrimination and how the current disability discrimination regime will change when the new provisions come into force. 

XpertHR has been reporting on developments on the Equality Act 2010: