Who is protected
The Equality Act sets out “protected characteristics” which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. The protected characteristics are:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
The Equality Act protects everyone against unfair treatment in one way or another – for example, it is unlawful to treat either men or women unfairly because of their sex. This does not mean that you cannot treat people differently where it is appropriate to do so – for example, services for women who have experienced domestic violence can be delivered in a women-only setting.
The Equality Act mainly brings together what was in previous law, but also changes the definition of “gender reassignment”. It also enables Parliament to make further legislation to change the definition of “race” to include “caste”.
You can find all the relevant parts of the act that relate to “Who is protected” to the left.
These provisions set out the characteristics (eg age, race etc) which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly
Tell us what you think should happen to these measures and why, being specific where possible
- Should we scrap them altogether?
- Could their purpose be achieved in a non-regulatory way (eg through a voluntary code?) How?
- Could they be reformed, simplified or merged? How?
- Can we reduce their bureaucracy through better implementation? How?
- Can we make their enforcement less burdensome? How?
- Should they be left as they are?