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Line Managers Date: updated March 2011

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1 Line Managers Date: updated March 2011
Equality Act 2010 Line Managers Date: updated March 2011

2 Equality Act 2010 - Background
The first wave of changes arising from The Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010. The aim is to create a single approach to equality across all equality strands now called ‘protected characteristics’ although there are exceptions, for example ‘pregnancy and maternity’ is not protected from indirect discrimination. The next part of the the Equality Act is a new public sector equality duty which came into force on 5 April 2011.

3 Equality Act - Protected Characteristics
The Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of ‘protected characteristics’ (these used to be called ‘grounds’). Protected characteristics are: age; disability (definition has changed – potentially bringing more people into scope of the Act); gender reassignment (definition has changed – medical supervision no longer required); marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation.

4 Equality Act – at a glance

5 Equality Act - changes to discrimination
Discrimination by association – it is illegal to discriminate against someone who is associated with a person who has a protected characteristic. Discrimination by perception – it is illegal to discriminate against someone if this is due to perceiving them to have a protected characteristic – even if this is incorrect. Indirect discrimination – already applies to most protected characteristics –extended to all except pregnancy and maternity. Discrimination arising from disability – unfavourable treatment because of something connected with the disability. There is no requirement for a comparator. Remember potentially more people will therefore be covered by the Act.

6 Equality Act - changes to harassment
Harassment applies to all protected characteristics except for pregnancy and maternity and marriage and civil partnership. The new law extends protection to people if: they are harassed because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic; or because someone thinks you have a protected characteristic, For example, if someone is harassed because their son is gay, or because someone wrongly thinks they are Muslim. Third party harassment DWP will be potentially liable for the harassment of our staff by third parties who are not our employees – for example, customers.

7 Equality Act - staff responsibilities
DWP have standards and guidance to make sure behaviours such as bullying and/or harassment are unacceptable and to provide excellent service to our customers. These standards and practices remain and staff should therefore continue to: be treated with respect at work and not be harassed, bullied or unfairly discriminated against on any grounds; treat our customers, colleagues and partners fairly and with respect; put in place reasonable adjustments for disabled customers and disabled staff; provide an accessible service for all our customers; and carry out equality impact assessments on all new policies and procedures and changes to existing ones. Further information on equality and what you need to do to deliver equality in your role can be found on: Equality and You:

8 Equality Act – public sector equality duty
A new public sector equality duty came into effect on the 5 April 2011. The public sector equality duty consists of a general equality duty and specific duties. Note: only the general duty will come into force in April 2011. General duty: Requires us, when carrying out our functions, 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. Specific duties: are designed to help Public Bodies to meet the general duty; will not come into force until July 2011 (current date) due to a Government review of the draft regulations relating to the specific duties. *‘due regard’ is covered on slide 9.

9 Public sector equality duty - what does ‘due regard’ mean?
The Department must meet the requirements of the Equality Act and the public sector general duty, which means having due regard when carrying out our functions. Due regard involves: removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics. For example, providing access to our services by use of an interpreter or larger font documents. taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people. For example, taking steps to take account of disabled people’s disabilities and treating some people more favourably than others. encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low. fostering good relations, For example, tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups.

10 Further Information Further information can be found:
The Diversity and Equality intranet site: Government Equalities Office (GEO): EHRC:

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