More about the Equality Act

As a union learning rep (ULR), you will not need to give legal advice to learners – you should refer them to other union contacts. If you are interested in finding out more about the law, try this quick quiz about the current legislation, the Equality Act (2010).

Equality Act Quiz

What is the definition of disability according to the Equality Act (2010)?

A physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

What are the nine protected characteristics, defined by the Equality Act (2010) which cannot be used to treat a person unfairly?

Race; Disability; Sex; Age; Sexual orientation; Religion and belief; Gender reassignment; Pregnancy and maternity; Marriage and civil partnerships.

What is direct discrimination?

This occurs when someone is treated less favourably than someone else because they have a protected characteristic. It now includes discrimination by association, which affects those who associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.

What is indirect discrimination?

This occurs when a provision, criterion or practice is applied that appears to affect everyone equally but which in fact disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic. This now applies to disability.

What sort of conduct could constitute harassment?

Unwanted, unacceptable or offensive behaviour related to a relevant protected characteristic. It could take many forms, for example abusive language, name-calling, jokes, banter, mimicry, gestures, assault, offensive emails.

What is positive action?

Employers can take steps to advance equality for people who may be under-represented in a particular activity, have suffered a disadvantage or have different needs related to one of the protected characteristics.

What are human rights?

Basic rights and freedoms which all humans are entitled to, like the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression and equality before the law.

What is stereotyping?

A simplified and fixed idea of how people belonging to a group behave, usually based on opinion rather than evidence.

More resources

Climbing Frame

The Climbing Frame has a Learning Theme on Equality and Diversity with more information about the legislation. Register for free to use the Climbing Frame.

A brief guide to the Equality Act (2010)

Watch a 3-minute video about the Equality Act (2010):