The Equality Act

It’s all change this month. Amongst the various financial challenges out there, we also have new discrimination legislation to get to grips with. Fortunately there’s plenty of information out there for employers, HR and recruitment professionals.

The fundamental effect of this is that all discrimination laws are included under this single piece of legislation. A popular term within the Act which reflects this change is “protected characteristics,” which is used to encapsulate all possible types of discrimination.

Other noteworthy changes from an employer’s perspective include the amendments to the law on harassment, which state that any employee that is harassed 3 times by a third party i.e. a customer or supplier, can claim against their employer. To be safe the right systems need to be in place for any of these instances to be reported and prevented in the future. This simply indicates the importance of well drafted contracts and employee handbooks. Another provision is dual discrimination. This is not in effect just yet, and is expected in April 2011 at the earliest. It will protect those that suffer from discrimination as a result of the fact that they come under more than one of the protected characteristics, where one alone may not be enough to prove the claim.

There’s plenty more information out there if you need it, and undoubtedly one of the best places to be sure you are getting all the facts is at the following: