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SYKES ANDERSON LLP Solicitors UK & International Law Breakfast Seminar THE 'NEW' EQUALITY ACT 2010 Thursday 30 September 2010 Presented by Alan Massenhove.

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Presentation on theme: "SYKES ANDERSON LLP Solicitors UK & International Law Breakfast Seminar THE 'NEW' EQUALITY ACT 2010 Thursday 30 September 2010 Presented by Alan Massenhove."— Presentation transcript:

1 SYKES ANDERSON LLP Solicitors UK & International Law Breakfast Seminar THE 'NEW' EQUALITY ACT 2010 Thursday 30 September 2010 Presented by Alan Massenhove SYKES ANDERSON LLP 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YF DX 729 London City Tel Fax Web 1

2 Please note that the presenter is not authorised to advise on the interpretation and application of the law to particular circumstances or matters and any such comments made by the presenter will not constitute and must not be relied upon as advice. The material for this presentation has been designed as an integral part of the presentation solely for the benefit of delegates attending the seminar. The material does not necessarily stand on its own and is not intended to be relied upon for giving specific advice. To the extent permitted by law, neither the presenter nor Sykes Anderson LLP will be liable by reason of breach of contract, negligence or otherwise for any loss or consequential loss occasioned to any person acting, omitting to act or refraining from acting in reliance upon the seminar material or presentation of the seminar or arising from or connected with any error or omission in the seminar material or presentation of the seminar. Consequential loss shall be deemed to include, but is not limited to, any loss of profits or anticipated profits, damage to reputation or goodwill, loss of business or anticipated business, damages, costs, expenses incurred or payable to any third party or any other indirect or consequential losses. No part of the seminar material may be reproduced in any form or for any purpose without prior permission of Sykes Anderson LLP. 2

3 INTRODUCTION Background Development of discrimination law EQUALITY ACT 2010 ('EA 2010') Received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010 Majority comes into force on 1 October 2010 Main purpose… 'Harmonize discrimination law' 'Strengthen the law to support progress on equality' Repeals or revokes etc 116 pieces of legislation (incl Sex Discrimination Act, Relations Act & Disability Discrimination Act etc) Supplemented by Explanatory Notes, Statutory Codes of Practice (currently in draft), and Regulations and Orders (many yet to be made) 3

4 EA 2010 has 216 sections in 16 Parts, and 28 Schedules… PART 1 Socio-economic inequalities PART 2 Equality: key concepts PART 3 Services and public functions PART 4 Premises PART 5 Work PART 6 Education PART 7 Associations PART 8 Prohibited conduct: ancillary PART 9 Enforcement PART 10 Contracts, etc PART 11 Advancement of equality PART 12 Disabled persons: transport PART 13 Disability: miscellaneous PART 14 General exceptions PART 15 Family property PART 16 General and miscellaneous BEWARE 'trumping' throughout ! 4

5 PART 1 Socio-economic inequalities [ss 1 – 3] "Imposes a duty on certain public bodies to have due regard to socio- economic considerations in making strategic decisions" PART 11 Advancement of equality [ss 149 – 159] "Establishes a general duty on public authorities to have due regard… to the need: to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation; to advance equality of opportunity; and to foster good relations" Positive action [s 158] "Where persons who share a 'protected characteristic'… - suffer a disadvantage - have different needs or - have disproportionately low participation EA 2010 does not prohibit the taking of any action which is a proportionate means of… - overcoming or minimising such disadvantage - meeting such needs - enabling or encouraging such participation" NOT 'positive discrimination' !!! 5

6 PART 2 Equality: key concepts [ss 4 – 27] "Establishes the key concepts on which the Act is based… These key concepts are then applied in the subsequent Parts of the Act" Chapter 1 Protected characteristics Chapter 2 Prohibited conduct Chapter 1 Protected characteristics ('PC') [s 4] Age Disability Gender reassignment Marriage and civil partnership Pregnancy and maternity Race Religion or belief Sex Sexual orientation 6

7 Age [s 5] Can be particular age or age group (eg '21 year olds' or 'over 50s') Disability [s 6] "Physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities" 'long-term effect' = lasts or likely to last > 12 months (or rest of life) 'normal day to day activities' - not just work activities ! Various 'deemed disabilities' eg cancer, HIV Various 'excluded conditions' eg alcoholism, hay fever Can incl progressive and recurring conditions Disregard treatment & prosthesis (not spectacles, contact lenses etc) ALWAYS consult medical expert & check Sick Notes Gender reassignment [s 7] "Protects those who commit to live permanently in non-birth gender" Reassignment of sex by changing physiological or other attributes NOT 'transvestites' or 'cross dressers' Incls proposing to undergo, undergoing, or has undergone a process No medical supervision required 7

8 Marriage and civil partnership [s 8] NOT persons who are single, engaged or divorced ! Objective test (no 'perception' cases) Race [s 9] Incls- colour (eg black, white) - nationality (eg British, Indian) - ethnic or national origin (eg 'Roma', 'Kurd') - caste? Religion or belief [s 10] Any substantive religion or philosophical belief (... or lack of !) Belief genuinely held and not 'mere opinion or viewpoint' Incls denominations or sects (eg Protestants, Catholics, Sunni, Shia) Sex [s 11] Male or female Sexual orientation [s 12] Same sex, opposite sex or either sex - no need for participation 8

9 Chapter 2 Prohibited conduct Exceptions incl… Compliance with other law Special rules for charities & religious based organisations Communal accommodation Sports and other competitive activities Direct discrimination ('DD') [s 13] "Because of a PC, A treats another person less favourably than he treats or would treat others" Requires real or hypothetical 'comparator' Covers 'association' and 'perception' cases 'Racial segregation' and 'Less favourable treatment of woman because she is breast-feeding a baby > 26 weeks old outside of work' = deemed DD For PC of 'Age' only, DEFENCE if 'objective justification' ("treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim") 9

10 Discrimination arising from disability [s 15] "Because of something arising in consequence of a disability, A treats a disabled person less favourably" DEFENCE if 'objective justification' (NB 'reasonable adjustments' !) DEFENCE if "could not reasonably have been expected to know person disabled" Gender reassignment discrimination [s 16] "Because of a gender reassignment related absence from work, A treats a transsexual person less favourably than he would treat that person if the absence was because of sickness or injury or some other reason" Pregnancy & maternity discrimination: non-work cases [s 17] "A treats a woman unfavourably because of her pregnancy" "A, < 26 weeks of the dob, treats a woman unfavourably because she has given birth" Covers breast-feeding a baby < 26 weeks Covers still births > 24 weeks 10

11 Pregnancy & maternity discrimination: work [s 18] "A, > conception and < expiry of maternity leave or earlier return to work, treats a woman unfavourably because of her pregnancy or as a result of a pregnancy related illness" "A treats a woman unfavourably because she is on compulsory maternity leave" "A treats a woman unfavourably because she is exercising, seeking to exercise, or has exercised or sought to exercise, maternity leave" Indirect discrimination ('ID') [s 19] "A applies a provision, criterion or practice which is discriminatory in relation to any PC except 'Pregnancy and maternity'" " A provision etc is discriminatory if (a) it has general application (b) it puts, or would put, persons who share a PC at a particular disadvantage when compared with persons who do not share that PC and (c) it puts, or would put, a person with that PC at that disadvantage " Requires real or hypothetical 'comparator group' DEFENCE if 'objective justification' (NB 'reasonable adjustments' !) 11

12 Duty to make adjustments for disabled persons [s 20] 1 st Requirement "Where a PROVISION, CRITERION OR PRACTICE puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with non-disabled persons, A must take reasonable steps to avoid that disadvantage" [s 20(3)] 2 nd Requirement "Where a PHYSICAL FEATURE puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with non-disabled persons, A must take reasonable steps to take to avoid that disadvantage" [s 20(4)] 3 rd Requirement "Where a disabled person would, but for an AUXILIARY AID (OR SERVICE), be put at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with non-disabled persons, A must take reasonable steps to provide it" [s 20(5)] 'reasonable steps' always incls information in accessible format 'anticipatory duty' except in work cases (see later…) Generally, must not pass on costs of compliance 12

13 Harassment [s 26] "Unwanted conduct by A… - related to any PC except 'Marriage & civil partnership' and 'Pregnancy & maternity' [s 26(1)] or - of a sexual nature [s 26(2)] the purpose OR EFFECT of which is to violate the dignity of another person or to create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him" "Unwanted conduct by A… - related to PCs of 'Gender reassignment' or 'Sex' or - of a sexual nature the purpose OR EFFECT of which is to violate the dignity etc AND because of rejection or submission A treats him less favourably" [s 26(3)] Where 'effect' must take into account - perception of 'victim' - whether reasonable for conduct to have that effect Covers 'association' and 'perception' cases Conduct need not be directed at 'victim' and can be a 'one off' ! 13

14 Victimisation [s 27] "A subjects a person to a detriment because he has made or supported a complaint under the EA 2010, or A believes he has or may do so" [s 27(1)] BUT NOT if act in bad faith ! PART 8 Prohibited conduct: ancillary [ss 108 – 112] Relationships that have ended "A must not discriminate against, harass or victimise a person after a relationship has ended " [s 108] Liability of employers and principals "Anything done by an employee in the course of his employment treated as also done by the employer" [s 109(1)] Employer's knowledge or approval irrelevant DEFENCE if employer 'took all reasonable steps' to prevent "Anything done by an agent for a principal with the authority of the principal treated as also done by the principal" [s 109(2)] 14

15 Liability of employees and agents "An employee or agent will be personally liable if he does something which is treated as a contravention of EA 2010 by the employer or principal" [s 110(1)] DEFENCE if reasonably relied on a statement by employer or principal Criminal offence (£5,000 fine) if false or misleading statement Other "A person must not… - instruct [s 111(1)] - cause [s 111(2)] - induce [s 111(3)] - knowingly help [s 112(1)] another person to do anything which would contravene EA 2010" DEFENCE if reasonably relied on a statement by other person Criminal offence (£5,000 fine) if false or misleading statement 15

16 PART 3 Services and public functions [ss ] "Makes it unlawful to discriminate against, harass or victimise a person when providing a service (or goods or facilities) or when exercising a public function" Exceptions incl… Where PC is 'Marriage & civil partnership' For PC of 'Age', where person < 18 yrs UNLAWFUL ACTS… Person providing a service (or goods or facilities) To the public or a section of the public Whether for payment or not "A must not… - DISCRIMINATE against a person seeking services [s 29(1)] - DISCRIMINATE against a service user [s 29(2)] - HARASS (a) a person seeking services or (b) a service user [s 29(3)] … 16

17 - VICTIMISE a person seeking services [s 29(4)] - VICTIMISE a service user [s 29(5)] " Treatment incls… - terms on which the service is provided - not providing service to usual quality or in usual manner - terminating the service - any other detriment Person exercising a public function "A must not do anything that constitutes DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT or VICTIMISATION" [s 29(6)] Both "Duty to make REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS applies" [s 29(7)] 1 st, 2 nd & 3 rd Requirements BUT nothing requires - service-provider to 'fundamentally alter nature of services he provides or his trade or profession' - person exercising public function to 'act beyond his powers' 17

18 PART 4 Premises [s 32 – 38] "Makes it unlawful to discriminate against, harass or victimise a person when disposing of or managing premises" Exceptions incl… Where PC is 'Age' or 'Marriage & civil partnership' Hotels rooms etc DEFENCES of 'private disposal exception' and 'small premises exception' (NB complex and variously applied !) UNLAWFUL ACTS… Disposals Incls sale, assignment, letting and subletting etc "A must not… - DISCRIMINATE against a person seeking the premises [s 33(1)] - HARASS a person seeking the premises" [s 33(3)] - VICTIMISE a person seeking the premises [s 33(4)] " 18

19 Treatment incls… - terms on which premises are offered - not disposing of the premises to that person - treating person less favourably than others seeking the premises - any other detriment Permission [s 34] and Management [s 35] Similar provisions apply where 'third party consent' required or where let premises 'managed' by landlord and/or agent Reasonable adjustments [s 36(1)] (… for let premises only!) "For LET PREMISES landlord and manager must comply with 1 st & 3 rd Requirements" "For COMMON PARTS landlord must comply with 2 nd Requirement" ONLY where (a) disabled tenant or other lawful occupier uses premises as his only or main home and (b) request received Prescribed procedure 19

20 PART 5 Work [s 39 – 83] "Makes it unlawful to discriminate against, harass or victimise a person at work or in employment services etc…" Wide application Exceptions incl special treatment of - national minimum wage - statutory maternity pay - statutory retirement (> 65 yrs) - insurance related matters - etc DEFENCES to 'Discrimination' (variously applied throughout Part 5) 'Occupational requirement' ("A applies a requirement to have a particular PC which (a) is an occupational requirement and (b) is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim") 'Occupational requirement (organised religion)' 'Occupational requirement (religious ethos)' 20

21 UNLAWFUL ACTS… Employees and applicants [ss ] "A must not… - DISCRIMINATE against a person seeking employment [s 39(1)] - DISCRIMINATE against an employee [s 39(2)] - VICTIMISE a person seeking employment [s 39(3)] - VICTIMISE an employee [s 39(4)] - HARASS (a) a person seeking work or (b) an employee" [s 40(1)] Treatment incls - whom to offer employment - terms of employment - promotion, transfer or training - benefit, facility or service - dismissal - any other detriment NOT where applicant > 65 yrs (or will be < 6 months) NOT where benefit etc based on < 5 yrs of service NOT where benefit etc based on > 5 yrs of service if fulfils business need 21

22 NOT where enhanced redundancy pay based on SRP 'Harassment' incls treatment by third party (eg customer or client) ! Where third party harassment employer deemed to harass employee if - occurs in course of employment - > 2 other occasions of harassment (need not be same third party) - employer knew of previous occasions and - failed to take 'reasonable steps' to prevent "Duty to make REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS applies" [s 39(5)] 1st, 2nd & 3rd Requirements DEFENCE if 'did not know, and could not reasonably be expected to know, that person seeking work OR EMPLOYEE is disabled' NOT 'anticipatory duty' (only exception to rule !) 22

23 Contract workers [s 41] "A must not… - DISCRIMINATE against a contract worker [s 41(1)] - HARASS a contract worker [s 41(2)] - VICTIMISE a contract worker [s 41(3)] " NB Not concerned with 'person seeking work' ! Treatment incls - terms of work - not allowing worker to do, or continue to do, work - benefit, facility or service - any other detriment "Duty to make REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS applies" [s 41(4)] 1st, 2nd & 3rd Requirements 'anticipatory duty' - no defence of did not know etc ! 23

24 Similar UNLAWFUL ACTS variously in respect of… Partners [s 44] & Limited liability partnerships [s 45] Personal offices: appointments, etc [s 49)] - 'Office or post (not elected or political) in which a person personally discharges a function under the direction of another and that person is paid remuneration (not just expenses)' Public offices: appointments, etc [s 50] & Public offices: recommendations and approvals for appointments, etc [s 51] - 'Appointment (not elected or political) made, recommended or approved by the Government' Qualifications bodies [s 53] Employment service-providers [s 55] - 'Employment agencies and businesses, and providers of vocational training, careers services and guidance' Trade organisations [s 57] Local authority members [s 58 ] Associations [ss 100 – 107] etc 24

25 Recruitment [s 60(1)] "A person must not ask about the health of an applicant for work (a) before offering work or (b) before including applicant in a pool of successful candidates to be offered work later" (VERY RISKY !!!) CAN ask questions necessary to… - identify suitable candidates where 'occupational requirement' - establish if capable of 'carrying out function intrinsic to work' - establish whether able to participate in recruitment process - making reasonable adjustments to enable participation - monitoring diversity - supporting 'positive action' NOT unlawful act per se, but evidence towards substantive claim Only E&HRC can enforce 25

26 Discussions about pay [s 77] "A contractual term is unenforceable if it purports to prevent or restrict a person from… - disclosing information about the terms of his work [s 77(1)] - seeking disclosure of information from a colleague or former colleague about the terms of the colleague's work [s 77(2)] " Applies to employment and appointment to a personal or public office Not a 'ban' per se PART 10 Contracts, etc [ss 142 – 148] "A term of a contract is unenforceable if it… - constitutes, promotes or provides for treatment of any person that is prohibited by EA 2010 [s 142(1)] - purports to exclude or limit any provision of the EA 2010 [s 144(1)] " 26

27 PART 9 Enforcement [ss 113 – 141] Jurisdiction Generally employment tribunal where contravention of Part 5 Work county court for all other contraventions Time limits Generally proceedings in tribunals < 3 months from relevant act proceedings in courts < 6 months from relevant act conduct extending over a period treated as done at end of period failure to do something occurring when person decides on it Obtaining information Prescribed 'questionnaire' procedure Inferences drawn where (a) failure to answer a question < 8 weeks or (b) an evasive or equivocal answer 27

28 Burden of proof "If there are facts from which a tribunal or court could decide, in the absence of any other explanation, that A has contravened the EA 2010, it must find that the contravention occurred, unless A shows that he did not contravene" ('reverse burden of proof') Remedies Declaration Compensatory damages Damages for injured feelings ! Amount of compensation = as could be awarded by a county court 'Appropriate recommendation' (tribunals only) (new) Where unintentional 'ID', tribunal must not award damages unless first considers other disposals - IMPORTANT ! 28

29 SUGGESTIONS… Review all existing Policies Introduce up to date Equal Opportunities Policy Consider whether to use 'positive action' Remove all gagging clauses from contracts, handbooks and salary review letters Consider set pay scales Consider publishing pay data Review recruitment procedures to remove all questions about health or disability This information has been prepared by Sykes Anderson LLP as a general guide only and does not constitute advice on any specific matter. We strongly recommend that you seek professional advice before taking action. No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of any information or advice given or omitted. 29


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