Equality Act Rahana Mohammed Head of Policy. 13 July 2011

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1 Equality Act 2010 Rahana Mohammed Head of Policy 13 July 2011

2 Equality Equality has become a dirty word Theresa May Fairness means giving people what they deserve and what they deserve depends on how they behave David Cameron

3 Equality - Why The chances for children in lower income families of being socially mobile are lower in the UK than most international counterparts. By the age of seven, children with a higher social class background, but low assessed ability, overtake those from a lower social class background with high ability. (The Equality Strategy Building a Fairer Britain, December 2010) There are 41.6 Section 60 searches for every 1,000 black people, compared with 1.6 for every 1,000 white people making black people 26.6 times more likely to be stopped and searched. (LSE, October 2010) 44% of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in England live in local authorities with the lowest rates of life expectancy and the highest rates of death from cancer and circulatory diseases. (Healthcare Commission, 2007) There is evidence of occupation segregation with BAME and migrant workers concentrated in low wage, low skilled or menial jobs, working shifts and on insecure contracts. (Gilchrist et al, 2010)

4 Equality - History Race Relations Act 1965 Race Relations Act 1968 Race Relations Act 1976 The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (the Macpherson Report) Equality Act 2006 Equality Act 2010

5 Equality History The Journey to Race Equality, 2004, Audit Commission Report, found that People from black and minority ethnic communities still experience multiple inequalities and discrimination and that Local agencies are on a journey to race equality and some are doing better than others. Recommendations included: Delivering race equality benefits the whole community Local agencies need a clear vision of race equality, based on a good understanding of local issues and a clear description of how outcomes for black and minority ethnic communities will improve The barriers and assumptions that prevent progress can contribute to institutional racism Delivering race equality requires significant change. The factors that will help local agencies to make progress along the journey include leadership at all levels, mature dialogue with all parts of the community, and regularly evaluating and engaging partners Delivering race equality is a long-term programme.

6 Equality Act 2010 ROTA welcomes the Act as the PSED is stronger than previous legislation Applaud the sentiments of dealing with equality across a range of characteristics

7 Equality Act 2010 Concerns Given the light touch approach the Coalition is proposing, implementation and approach becomes a concern What will be available to support the regulatory framework, especially given the proposed restructure of the EHRC Given the back drop of severe funding cuts, where RECs have disappeared, who locally will be equipped, experience knowledge skills time, to hold public authorities to account Assumption that every public authority is in a similar place to deliver on the Act

8 Equality Act Characteristics 1) age 2) disability; 3) gender reassignment 4) marriage and civil partnership 5) pregnancy and maternity 6) race 7) religion or belief 8) sex (gender) 9) sexual orientation.

9 Equality Act 2010 Forms of Discrimination Direct discrimination Indirect discrimination Harassment Victimisation

10 Direct Discrimination Direct discrimination is defined as unlawful in the same areas specified in the Equality Act 2010 (i.e. services and public functions, premises, work, education and associations). Less favourable treatment could be anything from not gaining employment to receiving poorer services. It did not matter what motivated the treatment.

11 Example A 70 year old lady was refused a broadband contract by Carphone Warehouse in the UK and was told that she could only register if she came to the store with a younger member of her family. The Carphone Warehouse has provided guidance to staff not to sell broadband contracts to customers aged 70+ as they believe they will not understand the terms of the contract.

12 Indirect Discrimination Indirect discrimination means applying a criterion, provision or practice which was not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, disadvantaged people of a particular age, gender, race, disability, religion or belief or sexual orientation and disadvantaged a particular individual from a protected group.

13 Example A Black African employee applied for the post of equal opportunities manager in his organisation. He was assessed as having the skills and ability for the job. However, his application was rejected because, unknown to him, the post was open only to permanent staff at higher grades than his. Monitoring data showed that the organisation had no permanent Black African employees at the grades in question. The employment tribunal held that there was no justification for the requirement, and that it amounted to indirect discrimination on racial grounds.

14 Harassment Harassment is unwanted conduct on or because of a protected ground - that violated a person s dignity or created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment having regard to all the circumstances and the perception of the victim this definition applies to all strands and protected groups. The effect of the behaviour is important not the motivation of the person being complained about, or their intention.

15 Example A manager arranges for his team to go to football matches once a month. During these trips, a group of employees chant anti-muslim slogans and make offensive comments about Islam. The manager does nothing to stop his staff s behaviour. This is an example of direct discrimination and religious harassment. Companies can be held responsible for harassment carried out by their staff in the workplace or at an event or venue associated with work.

16 Victimisation Victimisation is prohibited under The Equality Act The victimisation provisions are designed to ensure that individuals who allege discrimination are not too afraid to make a legal complaint and/or frightened into withdrawing a complaint. An individual (e.g. a worker or service-user) need not have a particular protected characteristic in order to be protected against victimisation under the Act; to be unlawful, victimisation must be linked to a protected act.

17 Example A Sikh man takes his employer to a tribunal for banning headwear, as his religion says he must wear a turban. He later leaves the company and asks his old employer for a reference. The employer refuses, saying that the man is a troublemaker and he couldn t recommend him to another employer. This would be unlawful victimisation

18 Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) A public authority must, in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to (a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act; (b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; (c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

19 Who has to do the PSED Public authorities, eg Local authorities, health authorities, police, transport, Education Any organisation that is responsible for a public function, only to public not private functions EHRC is responsible for enforcement

20 Specific Duties Yet to be agreed, to be laid before parliament summer recess Key points Publication of information No later than 31 st January 2011 The every year after Information must be related to persons who share a protected characteristic for employees and those affected by their policy and practice Does not apply to public authorities with less that 150 employees

21 Specific Duties Equality Objectives One or more objectives Published no later than 6 th April 2012 Subsequently every four years Specific & measurable Manner of publication Information must be accessible to the general public Information may be published within another document

22 Future work What would you use the Equality Act 2010 for, re issues? What further support might you need in the future? Rahana Mohammed

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