It is, quite literally, a tough Act to follow.
Below are some frequently asked Q&A from Mental Health Solutions in Business, Taken together they provide a good insight into the level of impact the updated Act has and the amount of new knowledge and policies that now need to be in place to make sure employers are up to date and covering their employees needs correctly .
What is the Equality Act 2010?
The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination in the workplace and wider society. It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. The Equality Act 2010 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom
WHO DOES THE EQUALITY ACT APPLY TO?
Every business. The size of your business does not matter. Sole trader, partnership, limited company or any other legal structure – all are covered by the Act.
Equality law affects everyone responsible for running your business and anyone who might do something on its behalf, including staff if you have them. It does not matter whether you give the service for free (for example, giving someone information about your paid-for services) or if you charge for it.
WHAT LEGISLATION HAS THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 REPLACED?
The Act simplifies and strengthens current legislation to provide Britain with a new discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society. The Equality Act 2010 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Nine main pieces of legislation have merged. They are:
- the Equal Pay Act 1970
- the Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- the Race Relations Act 1976
- the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
- the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
- the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
- the Equality Act 2006, Part 2
- the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
DOES THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 CHANGE FREQUENTLY?
The framework remains the same however various areas are clarified and updated frequently.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF DISABILITY UNDER THE EQUALITY ACT 2010?
The general definition for the purposes of the Act is 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.
The Act defines long-term in this context as having lasted, or being likely to last, for at least 12 months or the rest of the person’s life. Substantial is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial.’
Some people are deemed to be disabled for the purposes of the Act. For example, people with cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis are protected effectively from the point of diagnosis.
WHEN DOES THE REASONABLE ADJUSTMENT DUTY APPLY?
The duty to make reasonable adjustments arises in three situations:
Where a provision, criterion, practice, physical feature of premises, or, where the lack of an auxiliary aid places a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with people who are not disabled.
In those cases an employer has to take reasonable steps to take in all the circumstances to avoid disadvantage – in other words, the employer has to make a ‘reasonable adjustment’.
WHAT AREAS ARE COVERED BY “REASONABLE ADJUSTMENT”?
Age; Disability; Gender reassignment; Marriage and civil partnership; Pregnancy and maternity; Race; Religion or belief; Sex (gender); and Sexual orientation.
Bernadette Bruckner is a partner at MSBHelp.com – the online counselling, training and education portal for employers – supporting mental health in the workplace.