Here you can access information and resources about the Equality Act 2010, the public sector equality duty and the nine protected characteristics of the Act, including age, disability, gender re-assignment and race.
What is the Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010. The Equality Act brought together over 116 separate pieces of legislation into one single Act. Combined, they make up a new Act that provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.
The Act simplifies, strengthens and harmonises the 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 nine main pieces of legislation that have merged 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
Public Sector Equality Duty
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) is a pro-active duty and has two parts – General and Specific. Click on the links below to find out more.
Non-statutory guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission can be downloaded from the right hand side of this page.
Purpose of the Duty
The broad purpose of the equality duty is to integrate consideration of equality and good relations into the day-to-day business of public authorities. If you do not consider how a function can affect different groups in different ways, it is unlikely to have the intended effect. This can contribute to greater inequality and poor outcomes. The general equality duty therefore requires organisations to consider how they could positively contribute to the advancement of equality and good relations. It requires equality considerations to be reflected into the design of policies and the delivery of services, including internal policies, and for these issues to be kept under review.
Compliance with the general equality duty is a legal obligation, but it also makes good business sense. An organisation that is able to provide services to meet the diverse needs of its users should find that it carries out its core business more efficiently. A workforce that has a supportive working environment is more productive. Many organisations have also found it beneficial to draw on a broader range of talent and to better represent the community that they serve. It should also result in better informed decision-making and policy development. Overall, it can lead to services that are more appropriate to the user, and services that are more effective and cost-effective. This can lead to increased satisfaction with public services.
The General Duty
The general duty requires all public bodies to have due regard when carrying out their functions to the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not
- foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
The general duty covers the protected characteristics of: age; disability; gender; sexual orientation; race; religion and belief; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; and in respect of the elimination of discrimination duty only, marriage and civil partnership.
The Specific Duty
The specific duty sets out the steps we must take to show how we are meeting the needs of the general duty.
The following table provides a quick overview on what we must do and by when. Detailed information on the requirements are contained within the non-statutory guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and can be downloaded from the right hand side of this page alongside our publications required by the duties.
|what we need to do||When do we need to it|
|Publish a report on progress on mainstreaming the general duty||30 April 2013 and within 2 years|
|Publish equality outcomes and report on progress||30 April 2013 and review within 4 years Report on progress 2015|
|Assess and review the impact of applying a proposed, new or revised policy or practice||Ongoing|
|Gather and use employment information||By 30 April then within 2 years|
|Publish gender pay gap information||By 30 April and within 2 years|
|Publish statements on equal pay and occupational segregation (grades and occupations) between women and men||By 30 April 2013 (for men and women) By 30 April 2017 ( for men and women, disabled and non-disabled people and minority ethnic people and non- ethnic minority people|
|consider award criteria and conditions in relation to public procurement||Ongoing|
|publish the required information in a manner that is accessible.|
|consider other matters as determined by Scottish Ministers|
Discrimination, Harasssment and Victimisation
Discrimination under the Equality Act comes in many different forms. Click on the headings below for definitions and examples
The Council’s Dignity at Work Policy aims to give employees a means of challenging harassment and bullying when experienced in the course of their employment. The policy can be accessed at the right hand side of this page.
Direct discrimination arises when a person is treated less favourably than others in the same circumstances, because of a protected characteristic. Discrimination in the workplace might take place in respect of recruitment, selection, assessment, training, promotion or the ways in which work is allocated. Discrimination in the delivery of services and public functions might include excluding people from certain activities or refusing them the same service as others without that characteristic.
People in all nine protected groups are protected from direct discrimination.
- Refusing to employ someone because you think there may be an adverse public response or
- Asking a disabled person for a bigger deposit when they are booking a holiday
Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice is applied to every one in the same way but it has the effect of disadvantaging people who share a protected characteristic.
(Note: Pregnancy and maternity are not covered.)
- Applicants must be over six feet tall;
- A dress code insists girls and women must wear knee length skirts
- Academic qualifications must have been gained in the UK
Discrimination by Association
Discrimination by association occurs when someone experiences discrimination because they associate with someone with a protected characteristic, even if they don’t.
Note: discrimination by association does not extend to the characteristics of marriage and civil partnership nor pregnancy and maternity.
A Protestant who is married to a Catholic is excluded from a Protestant Social Club because of their association with a Catholic.
Discrimination by Perception
Discrimination by perception occurs when someone is discriminated against because they are perceived to have particular protected characteristic.
Note: discrimination by perception does not extend to the grounds of marriage and civil partnership or pregnancy.
Discriminating against someone because he is assumed to be gay or assumed to be of a particular religion.
Discrimination Arising from Disability
The Equality Act says that it would be discrimination “to treat a disabled person in a particular way which, because of his or her disability, amounts to treating him or her badly and the treatment cannot be shown to be justified.” As with indirect discrimination, employers can justify the treatment if it can be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
Similarly an employer can defend a claim on the ground that they did not know, or could not be reasonably expected to know, that the person has a disability.
A disabled workers shift patterns are changed meaning they work fewer but longer days. The disabled worker is exhausted after two long days of working.
This could be discrimination arising out of disability if the employer knew the employee was disabled and there was no justifiable reason for the change in shift pattern.
Failure to make Reasonable Adjustments
Employers and service providers are required to make reasonable adjustments if any ‘provision, criterion or practice’ or ‘any physical feature of premises’ places a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled. Employers have a duty to take reasonable steps in order to prevent the provision, criterion or practice, or feature, having that effect.
Service providers must consider making changes to physical features of their premises so that there are no physical barriers which prevent disabled people from using their services, or make it unreasonably difficult to do so.
A meeting is being held to inform users of a community centre about changes to letting fees. The organisers fail to provide a BSL interpreter for the meeting meaning a user group can not participate.
Harassment because of a protected characteristic occurs when a person engages in unwanted conduct which is related to one or more of the relevant protected characteristics and which has the purpose or the effect of:
- violating the dignity of another person or
- creating for that person an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
(Note: People in seven protected groups are protected from harassment. Pregnancy/maternity and marriage/civil partnership are not covered.)
The council’s Dignity at Work policy aims to give employees a means of challenging harassment and bullying when experienced in the course of their employment.
The equality legislation defines as unlawful discrimination any action against a person because they have asserted their rights under the law or supported another person in doing so, e.g. bringing proceedings, giving evidence for another person.
An employee makes a claim of harassment against a manager. The employee is then refused the annual leave they request when other employees doing the same job are not. This, on the face of it could be challenged as victimisation.
Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age (e.g. 32 year olds) or range of ages (e.g. 18 – 30 year olds). Protection under the Equality Act for age is 18+
The following table details the age profile of North Lanarkshire residents from the 2011 census.
Total population is 337,727.
A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Social Model of Disability
The Social Model of Disability describes how the way society is constructed is what disables people rather than their impairment. Find out more here.
Reasonable Adjustment Protocol
A tailored adjustment agreement form to support disabled employees.
The Equality Act 2010 requires the Council to make what are known as reasonable adjustments for disabled people so as disabled people can work and/or access services and facilities. . This means we have to remove any physical or other barriers or provide additional support. It is a positive duty.
The Council has developed a reasonable adjustment protocol to assist disabled employees and their line managers negotiate and agree what adjustments are required to enable a disabled employee to do their job.
Once agreed a record of the agreement will be kept in the employees HR file.
Examples of reasonable adjustments can be found here.
Accessible and Inclusive Communication
The following information is available on best practice in providing accessible communication.
- Principles of Inclusive Communication
- Visual Impairment and Dyslexia Friendly Guides
- Plain Talking
- Plain English Guide
- Tips for Communicating with a Deaf Person
- Writing for Deaf People
3. Gender re-assignment
Trans (or transgender) is an umbrella term used by people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from their birth sex. The term includes, but is not limited to, transsexual people and others who define as gender-variant. Trans people may or may not choose to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically. Known as gender reassignment or transition this is usually a complex process that takes place over a long period of time.
Further information can be found in the following:
- Changing for the Better 2012
- Potential Areas of Concern between Local Authorities and Transgender Community
- Cornwall School Transgender Guidance
4. Marriage and Civil Partnership
Marriage is defined as a ‘union between a man and a woman’. Same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognised as ‘civil partnerships’. Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters.
Profile of all North Lanarkshire residents aged 16 and over (272,845):
45% (123,283) are married and 0.1% (266 people) are in a same sex civil partnership.
35% have never married.
21,800 people are divorced and 21,800 are widowed.
5. Pregnancy and Maternity
Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.
Further information can be found in the following:
Refers to the protected characteristic of Race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.
Gypsies and Travellers
Further information can be found in the following:
Ethnic Minority Law Centre
NLC has a partnership with the law centre to provide free complainant and legal services to black and minority ethnic people in Lanarkshire
Services include: – legal representation on Employment, Discrimination, Immigration & Nationality, Asylum & Refugee, and Human Rights as well as training and second tier advice to Citizens Advice Bureaux, throughout North and South Lanarkshire.
Contact the centre on 0141 204 2888, e-mail email@example.com
Language Line is a 24/7 telephone based interpreting service.
It provides immediate access to an interpreter for employees and service users where language is a barrier.
Further information can be found in the following:
7. Religion and Belief and Non-belief
Religion is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the practices and institutions associated with such belief. Religion takes an almost infinite number of forms in various cultures and individuals, but is dominated by a number of major world religions. Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.
Further information can be found in the following:
Religions at a glance
|Religion / conviction||Prophet / founder/ thinker||A holy book / text||A major celebration||A primary belief||A holy place|
|The Baha’i Faith||Baha’u’llah||Kitab’i’Aqdas||Birth of Baha’u’llah||Promote peace and unity irreespective of race, status or education||The shrine of Bab in Haifa Israel|
|Buddhism||Siddhartha Gautama||Pali Canon||Full moon day in May||A cyclical life, the ultimate goal being the attainment of Nirvana||The Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya|
|Christianity||Jesus||The New Testament||Easter||Only one God who ius the Trinity – 3 equal persons in one deity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit||Mount of Olives Jerusalem|
|Hinduism||x||Vedas||Diwali||In selfless living, the soul survives death||Benares Ganges River, India|
|Humanism||Greek thinkers, Erasmus, Thomas Moore||Humanism: A new religion||x||Rationality and scepticism triumph over superstition||x|
|Islam||Mohammad||The Qur’an||Eid al-Fitr||There is no god but God and Muhammad is his Prophet||Ka-aba|
|Judaism||Moses||Torah||Yom Kippur||God id One and the practice of Torah Commandments||Western Wall in Jerusalem|
|Paganism||x||x||Beltane||Organic vitality &spirituality of the natural world||Stonehenge|
|Sihism||Guru Nanak||The Guru Granth Sahib||Baisakhi||Everyone id equal before God||Harimandir Sahib|
|Taoism||Lao-Tse||Lao-Teh-King||x||Maintain order in oneself by balancing the forces of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’||Mount Tai Shan|
Atheism at a glance
Atheism is the absence of belief in any Gods or spiritual beings. The word Atheism comes from a, meaning without, and theism meaning belief in god or gods.
· Atheists don’t use God to explain the existence of the universe.
· Atheists say that human beings can devise suitable moral codes to live by without the aid of Gods or scriptures.
Reasons for non-belief
People are atheist for many reasons among them:
· They find insufficient evidence to support any religion.
· They think that religion is nonsensical.
· They once had a religion and have lost faith in it.
· They live in a non-religious culture.
· Religion doesn’t interest them.
· Religion doesn’t seem relevant to their lives.
· Religions seem to have done a lot of harm in the world.
· The world is such a bad place that there can’t be a God.
Many atheists are also secularist, and are hostile to any special treatment given to organised religion.
It is possible to be both atheist and religious. Virtually all Buddhists manage it, as do some adherents of other religions, such as Judaism and Christianity.
Atheists and morality
Atheists are as moral (or immoral) as religious people.
In practical terms atheists often follow the same moral code as religious people, but they arrive at the decision of what is good or bad without any help from the idea of God.
The Golden Rule of Buddhism
Treat not others, in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life. There are 376 million followers worldwide. According to the 2011 Census there were 12,795 Buddhists in Scotland with 336 living in North Lanarkshire.
Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana, following the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for Enlightenment around the sixth century BC.
There is no belief in a personal god. Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible. The path to Enlightenment is through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom.
Buddhists believe that life is both endless and subject to impermanence, suffering and uncertainty. These states are called the tilakhana, or the three signs of existence. Existence is endless because individuals are reincarnated over and over again, experiencing suffering throughout many lives.
It is impermanent because no state, good or bad, lasts forever. Our mistaken belief that things can last is a chief cause of suffering.
The Golden Rule of Christianity
In everything, do to others, as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets.
Christianity is the most popular religion in the world with over 2 billion adherents. 42 million Britons see themselves as nominally Christian, and there are 6 million who are actively practicing.
· Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament.
· Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
· Christians believe that God sent his Son to earth to save humanity from the consequences of its sins.
· One of the most important concepts in Christianity is that of Jesus giving his life on the Cross (the crucifixion) and rising from the dead on the third day (the Resurrection).
· Christians believe that there is only one God, but that there are three elements to this one God
· God the Son
· The Holy Spirit
· Christians worship in churches.
· Their spiritual leaders are called priests or ministers.
· The Christian holy book is the Bible and consists of the Old and New Testaments.
· Christian holy days such as Easter and Christmas are important milestones in the Western secular calendar
The Golden Rule of Hinduism
This is the sum of duty; do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you
Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900 million adherents worldwide. According to the 2011 Census there were 16,379 Hindu’s in Scotland with 347 living in North Lanarkshire.
In some ways Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, or at least elements within it stretch back many thousands of years. Yet Hinduism resists easy definition partly because of the vast array of practices and beliefs found within it. It is also closely associated conceptually and historically with the other Indian religions Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. Throughout its extensive history, there have been many key figures teaching different philosophies and writing numerous holy books. For these reasons, writers often refer to Hinduism as ‘a way of life’ or ‘a family of religions’ rather than a single religion.
The Golden Rule of Islam
Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.
Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1 billion followers. The 2011 census recorded 76,737 Muslims in Scotland, with 3315 in North Lanarkshire.
- Muslims believe that Islam was revealed over 1400 years ago in Mecca, Arabia.
- Followers of Islam are called Muslims.
- Muslims believe that there is only One God.
- The Arabic word for God is Allah.
- According to Muslims, God sent a number of prophets to mankind to teach them how to live according to His law.
- Jesus, Moses and Abraham are respected as prophets of God.
- They believe that the final Prophet was Muhammad.
- Muslims believe that Islam has always existed, but for practical purposes, date their religion from the time of the migration of Muhammad.
- Muslims base their laws on their holy book the Qur’an, and the Sunnah.
- Muslims believe the Sunnah is the practical example of Prophet Muhammad and that there are five basic Pillars of Islam.
- These pillars are the declaration of faith, praying five times a day, giving money to charity, fasting and a pilgrimage to Mecca (at least once).
The Golden Rule of Judaism
Love your neighbour as yourself
Judaism is the original of the three Abrahamic faiths, which also includes Christianity and Islam. According to information published by The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, there were around 13.1 million Jewish people in the world in 2007, most residing in the USA and Israel. According to the 2011 census 5887 people in Scotland said that their religious identity was Jewish with 66 Jews living in North Lanarkshire.
- Judaism originated in the Middle East over 3500 years ago
- Judaism was founded by Moses, although Jews trace their history back to Abraham.
- Jews believe that there is only one God with whom they have a covenant.
- In exchange for all the good that God has done for the Jewish people, Jewish people keep God’s laws and try to bring holiness into every aspect of their lives.
- Judaism has a rich history of religious text, but the central and most important religious document is the Torah.
- Jewish traditional or oral law, the interpretation of the laws of the Torah, is called halakhah.
- Spiritual leaders are called Rabbis.
- Jews worship in Synangogues.
- 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust in an attempt to wipe out Judaism.
There are many people who identify themselves as Jewish without necessarily believing in, or observing, any Jewish law.
The Golden Rule of Sikhism
I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all.
There are 20 million Sikhs in the world, most of whom live in the Punjab province of India. The 2011 census recorded 9,055 Sikhs in Scotland with 377 living in North Lanarkshire.
Sikhism was founded in the 16th century in the Punjab district of what is now India and Pakistan. It was founded by Guru Nanakand is based on his teachings, and those of the 9 Sikh gurus who followed him.
The most important thing in Sikhism is the internal religious state of the individual.
- Sikhism is a monotheistic religion
- Sikhism stresses the importance of doing good actions rather than merely carrying out rituals
- Sikhs believe that the way to lead a good life is to:
- keep God in heart and mind at all times
- live honestly and work hard
- treat everyone equally
- be generous to the less fortunate
- serve others
- The Sikh place of worship is called a Gurdwara
- The Sikh scripture is the Guru Granth Sahib, a book that Sikhs consider a living Guru
The tenth Sikh Guru decreed that after his death the spiritual guide of the Sikhs would be the teachings contained in that book, so the Guru Granth Sahib now has the status of a Guru, and Sikhs show it the respect they would give to a human Guru.
The community of men and women who have been initiated into the Sikh faith is the Khalsa. The Khalsa celebrated its 300th anniversary in 1999.
Guru Gobind Singh decreed that where Sikhs could not find answers in the Guru Granth Sahib, they should decide issues as a community, based on the principles of their scripture.
8. Sex / Gender
Sex refers to the biological characteristics (genetic and anatomical) which defines humans as male or female. These characteristics are not mutually exclusive (some individuals possess both) and can be modified, but they function to differentiate humankind as female and male.
What’s the difference between sex and gender?
Is there a difference, aren’t they the same thing? – find out here
Sex refers to a natural or biological feature -the biological difference between women and men.
Gender refers to cultural or learned significance of sex – social roles that define women and men in a specific social context
Here are some examples:
- Women give birth to babies, men don’t (sex)
- Little girls are gentle, boys are tougher (gender)
- Women make up 70% of administrative, secretarial, personal services and customers service occupations (gender)
- Most building site workers in the UK are men (gender)
- In Ancient Egypt men stayed at home and did weaving. Women handled family business. Women inherited family property and men didn’t (gender)
- Men’s voices break at puberty, women’s do not (sex)
- Good, affordable childcare helps women to balance work and family commitments (gender)
- Women can breast feed babies, men can bottle feed babies (sex)
- According to UN statistics, women do 67% of the world’s work, yet their earnings for it amount to only 10% of the world’s income (gender)
Extract from ‘Into the lion’s Den’ by Oxfam
Further information can be found in the following:
Occupational segregation is understood as the concentration of men and women:
- in different kinds of jobs ( horizontal segregation) or
- in different grades ( vertical segregation)
Occupational segregation is one of the barriers which prevents women and men from fulfilling their potential in the labour market, and consequently contributes to the pay gap. Women tend to be concentrated in the lower paid jobs (e.g. caring, catering, cleaning, clerical, cashiering) and the lower grades within an organisation. Tackling occupational segregation is not simply a question of progressing gender equality in Scotland; it is also beneficial to Scotland’s overall social and economic well-being. We need to ensure that the pool of talent and skills available to employers is not inhibited by stereotypical perceptions of what women and men ‘do’, and that everyone’s skills are being utilised to the maximum potential.
Gender stereotyping – Social attitudes, both explicit and implicit, which stereotype the roles women and men, girls and boys have in our society. These attitudes can influence subject choice at school, college and university and can limit career aspirations. These attitudes can be reinforced, both consciously and unconsciously, by teachers, parents, peers, peers’ parents, children’s books and the media. Inflexible working – Women with children face constraints in terms of finding work that is potentially both commensurate with their skills and aspirations as well as flexible and convenient in terms of their childcare and other caring responsibilities. A lack of options forces many women into part-time, low-paid work. Under-valuing of roles and occupations that are perceived to be “women’s work”. In addition to considering how to encourage more women and men to consider non-traditional occupations, we must also consider what action can be taken to address the low value attached.
Further information can be found in the following:
9. Sexual Orientation
Whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes
The other useful websites provide a wealth of information and helpful resources relating to sexual orientation and transgender issues.
The Stonewall LGBT people and public services training video is an excellent resource exploring the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people accessing public services. It aims to assist us in our work by helping us understand the kinds of low-level homophobia that our service user may encounter daily.
Your Service Your Say – Stonewall Scotland Report is available here.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are not choices any more than being left handed or having brown eyes or being straight are. The choice is in deciding whether or not to live your life openly and honestly with yourself and others.
A recent survey of 8,000 gay men and lesbians in couples revealed that 56% of gay men and 71% of lesbians were in steady monogamous relationships.
Children find role models in every environment with which they are involved. Most LGBT parents make sure their children have consistent, positive contact with teachers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbours. Positive role models come in many forms.
HIV is not a gay disease. All of us are at risk of contracting HIV if we have unsafe sex or other modes of blood to blood contact, like sharing needles. The truth is that 16,000 people worldwide are infected every day with HIV. Many of those people are not gay.
The majority, if not all, gay and lesbian people are quite happy with their gender. In many ways their sexual identity is seen as a celebration and affirmation of their gender not a rejection of it. People often confuse homosexuality with transexuality or transvestism. Transsexual people feel as if they were born into the wrong body and should be of the opposite gender. Transvestites like to sometimes dress in the clothing of the opposite sex. Most transvestites are heterosexual.
Historians tell us that homosexuality has existed since the earliest human societies. Anthropologists report that homosexuality have been a part of every culture. It is also a well known fact that same sex behaviour also occurs in many other species and is therefore not unnatural.