The Equality Act is the most significant piece of equality legislation for many years. It simplifies streamlines and strengthens the law. It gives individuals greater protection from unfair discrimination and makes it easier for employers and companies to understand their responsibilities. It also sets a new standard for those who provide public services to treat everyone, with dignity and respect.
What is the Equality Act?
- A new Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010.
- The Equality Act brings together over 116 separate pieces of legislation in one single Act.
- Combined, they make up a new Act that provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.
- The Act simplifies, strengthens and harmonises the current legislation to provide Britain with a new discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society
- The nine main pieces of legislation that have merged are:
- The Equal Pay Act 1970
- The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- The Race Relations Act 1976
- The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
- The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
- The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
- The Equality Act 2006, Part 2
- The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
For more information, please see: www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents
Considering Reasonable Adjustments …
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission offers this guidance …
You should be familiar with the reasonable adjustments duty as this was first introduced under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
The reasonable adjustments duty under the Equality Act operates slightly differently and has been extended to cover the provision by a school of auxiliary aids and services.
The object of the duty is the same: to avoid as far as possible by reasonable means, the disadvantage which a disabled pupil experiences because of their disability.
Occupiers’ Liability …
The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and OLA1984 – you will be considered the occupier if you are the landowner or tenant on access land. The occupiers’ liability means that any occupier being sued by someone for injury or damage from the state of the land; this would be a civil law case.
There are liabilities to visitors whether they are invited or otherwise.
The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 states that reasonable care must be taken in the maintenance of land or property. This act can be a very grey area concerning the Equality Act 2010 issues, but one of which clients must be fully aware.
Landlord and Tenant Duties …
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1988 places statutory duties on landlords (and others) in relation to the grant of consent for dealings with property let by a lease. This note also looks at those duties and at the issue of reasonableness in relation to the granting of consent.
A landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent for access improvement works the tenant wishes to undertake within the tenant’s domain. A landlord himself may be occupying and running a service from part of the building, in which case he may wish to improve access to both his own domain and to the common parts
There is no requirement on the landlord to make common parts of his building accessible. However there would be a different expectation on the landlord of a shopping complex to that of a landlord of a small block of rented offices. The landlord of a public building would be considered a service provider under Equality Act 2010.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 …
The government has brought in a regulation, by regulating only where necessary and in a manner that is more suited to the needs of modern business and commerce.
The Order, made under the www.firesafe.org.uk/regulatory-reform-fire-safety-order-2005 replaces many of the references to fire safety in other legislation such as the Fire Precautions Act, Licensing Act and Housing Acts with a simple, single Order. It requires any person who exercises some level of control in premises to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and ensure occupants can safely escape if a fire does occur.
In such premises achieving fire safety is often a matter of common sense but you will have to ensure that sufficient time is put aside to work through the necessary steps. In more complicated premises or those with a high life risk more expert help may be required.