Equality Act

The Equality Act is being phased in from 1 October 2010. The Equality Act is a major new piece of legislation, designed to unite and streamline existing separate legislation. 

Our emphasis at Oxford Brookes is on treating everyone fairly, and this is at the heart of the new act.    We are currently working on updating our policies, to ensure that they reflect the Equality Act.

Much of existing separate law on race, gender and disability remains the same in the new act, but there are some important new developments too.

  • General duty for public sector bodies to
    • Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under the Act.
    • Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;
    • Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
  • The introduction of nine “protected characteristics”, areas where people are protected against discrimination. 
    • Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion and Belief (including lack of belief), Sex, Sexual Orientation.
  • Changes to discrimination law, including:
    • an extension of protection based on association and perception;
    • indirect discrimination protection is extended to disability;
    • the definition of disability includes people who had a disability in the past;
    • extension of the requirement for reasonable adjustments;
    • the introduction of disability-related discrimination;
    • a new definition of gender reassignment to include people not under medical supervision.
  • Changes to staff recruitment
    • Employers may not ask applicants about their health before offering them a job (unless this is about providing reasonable adjustments at interview or is a genuine requirement of the role).
  • Increased opportunities for positive action in relation to students.
  • Introduction of employer’s responsibility for third party harassment of employees on 24 March 2011 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that this provision would be scrapped.
  • Changed public sector equality duties on 17 March 2011 the government announced further revision to the duties, which are now due to come into force from July 2011.
  • Increased pregnancy and maternity protection for students.
  • Increased protection for breastfeeding



HR Business Partner (Equality and Diversity)
Tel 01865 485929