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Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010 and provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. It consolidates over 116 separate pieces of anti-discrimination legislation into one single Act, including:

  • 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

It offers protection to all staff and students at the University, including prospective staff and students, from unfair treatment and places a duty on organisations to promote a fair and more equal society.

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is against the law to discriminate against someone because of the following, known as protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) came into force on 5 April 2011 and requires the University to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

This is supported by specific duties imposed by secondary legislation which require public bodies to publish relevant and proportionate information to demonstrate compliance. We publish this information via our annual reports, equality objectives and action plans. To read these please visit our Reports and data pages.

A video of 'The Equality Act 2010: Opportunities and responsibilities’ presented by Gary Loke, previously Head of Policy for the Equality Challenge Unit (now Advance HE) and run for Equality and Diversity coordinators at the University of Exeter, can be viewed below.