The Equality Act 2010 came in to force on 1 October 2010 – and the Act amalgamates individual pieces of legislation previously in force to offer protection against discrimination in the workplace.
The legislation protects workers from being discriminated against at work or disadvantaged in the job market for reasons which have nothing to do with the skills that they have to offer or how well they do a job.
Under the Equality Act, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of what are called “protected characteristics”:
• Gender reassignmentt
• Religion or belief
• Sexual orientation
• Marital or civil partnership status
• Maternity leave
• Paternity leave
Workers are also protected from discrimination if:
• They are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic (eg a family member or friend)
• They have complained about discrimination or supported another person’s claim for discrimination
Sometimes it may be difficult for a worker or employee to be sure if they have been discriminated against under the Equality Act 2010 and “protected characteristics”.
Those carrying out discrimination may operate in subtle ways – or make an employee feel they are mistaken if they bring the matter to the attention of their line manager or employer.
Employees or workers who suspect or feel they have been discriminated against for reasons which have nothing to do with how they perform at work or their ability to do a job should seek expert legal advice from a specialist employment law solicitor who will be able to assess the case and advise on the law.
Discrimination in the workplace or which prevents a worker from accessing employment opportunities can affect a person’s self esteem, wellbeing, mental and physical health – and ability to carry on in their job or progress in a career and earn a living.
It is against the law to discriminate for reasons which have nothing to do with a worker’s ability to do their job – seeking legal advice at an early stage is vital to resolving the issue before it takes its toll on health, family and employment.