In this section FCE provides individuals, community groups and organisations further detailed information about the Equality Act, best practice guides and a range of tools and resources. We will continually update and improve this page as the equality field is evolving. If you would like to suggest topics or themes for us to develop resources on, or have suggestion about material that you would have useful, please contact us.

About the Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 applies across the United Kingdom and joins up nine main pieces of legislation into one legal framework and a single Act of (UK) parliament to simplify legislation and advance discrimination law. The previous Acts and laws that have played a key role in the development of the Equality Act include:

These laws have been developed over time to protect individuals from unfair treatment and also to promote more equal societies. Their history is a testimony to the continually evolving field of equality.

The Equality Act 2010 is a milestone in that it brings many legal specialisms under the one heading, paving the way for integrating equality perspectives into everyday work practices (see for instance the Scottish Government Mainstreaming Equality statement).


Who is protected by the Equality Act?

The Act protects everyone in the United Kingdom against discrimination because of the characteristics that we all have. Under the Equality Act, they are classified as nine protected characteristics.  These are listed below, you can click on each link for more information on how they are defined and apply in context:

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

What are the prohibited conducts under the Equality Act?

The Equality Act prohibits a range of conducts and behaviours, these include:

  • Discrimination (direct, indirect, by association and by perception)
  • Failure to provide reasonable adjustments
  • Harassment (including third party harassment)
  • Victimisation

Individuals are protected against prohibited behaviour depending of the context of that behaviour (e.g. at work, or when using services) as well as depending on their protected characteristic. The online portal provided by the Equality Advice Support Service follows a clear step-by-step procedure and can help explain how the Equality Act can apply in your situation:


Are you looking for guidance on UK-wide policy related to the Equality Act?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website hosts detailed advice for individuals and organisations, including policy and technical guidance:

Organisations can access specific information about their rights and responsibilities as employers under the Equality Act 2010 through the ACAS  website:


There are certain sections of the Equality Act are still under review. Those include:

Also, there are some sections of the Equality Act 2010 that have not been passed into law in parliament, these include:

These areas of equality are still evolving, for instance it is expected that Gender Pay Gap Reporting will come into force from April 2017 (see ACAS Advice for Employers).

Further information / External Sites:

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Equality Advisory and Support Service

Scottish Government Mainstreaming Equality

ACAS Equality and Discrimination Advice