What Does the Law Say?

  • Diversity describes all the ways people differ.

    Equality is ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.

  • Equality recognises that historically, certain groups of people with particular characteristics e.g. race, disability, gender and sexuality, have experienced discrimination.

    The law protects us from discrimination. The Equality Act came into force on 1st October 2010.

  • Today everyone in Britain is protected by the Equality Act. It brings together for the first time all the legal requirements for the private, public and voluntary sectors, making equality laws simpler and easier to understand.

  • The Equality Act sets out the grounds upon which discrimination is unlawful. The nine protected characteristics are…

    1. Age…
    refers to a person belonging to a particular age (e.g. 8 year olds) or range of ages (e.g. 11-18 year olds).

  • 2. Disability…

    is when a person has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

  • 3. Gender…

    if you are male or female.

    4. Gender reassignment…

    is the process of changing from one gender to another.

  • 5. Marriage and civil partnership

    Marriage was defined as a union between a man and a woman.  However, from March 29th 2014 same-sex couples in the UK have equal rights in law to be able to marry.  Previously, before this date same sex couples were only able to have their relationships legally recognised as 'civil partnerships'. Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters. Same sex couples may now convert their civil partnerships into marriage status.

  • 6. Pregnancy and maternity…

    Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth.  Protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.

  • 7. Race…

    refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.

  • 8. Religion and belief…
    religious and philosophical beliefs include lack of belief (e.g. atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live.

  • 9. Sexual orientation…

    whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes i.e. if you are straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual.

  • If discriminatory behaviour is perceived by the victim, or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate in regards of race, sexual orientation, faith, disability, gender identity etc. the incident can become a hate incident or even a hate crime.

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  • Penalties

    Hate crimes could result in penalties of up to 6 months dependent on the discretion of the magistrate or, if it is considered aggravated, the case can be tried in crown court and could result in a maximum sentence of 10 years.