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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.

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).

At FCE, we use the Equality Act 2010 as a framework for inclusion for partners working across community groups, charities, public and private sector organisations.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits:

  • Discrimination (direct, indirect, by association and by perception)

  • Failure to provide reasonable adjustments

  • Harassment (including third party harassment)

  • Victimisation

In addition, the Public Sector Equality Duty (2011) requires public sector organisations to:

  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.

  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

What are the prohibited conducts under the Equality Act?

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


In addition, The Fairer Scotland Duty, Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010, came into force in Scotland from April 2018. This places a legal responsibility on particular public bodies in Scotland to actively consider (‘pay due regard’ to) how they can reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socioeconomic disadvantage, when making strategic decisions.

To fulfil their obligations under the Duty, public bodies must be able to meet what we’ve called the key requirement in each case:

  • to actively consider how they could reduce inequalities of outcome in any major strategic decision they make

  • publish a written assessment, showing how they’ve done this.


Some other considerations worth bearing in mind are as follows:

  • The Duty applies from 1 April 2018 and does not cover decisions made before this date

  • The Duty also does not override other considerations – such as equality or best value.

Are you being discriminated against?

Tell us about your equality concerns where you work, live or study in Fife using our online reporting form  (click here) or contact us directly. 

If you are looking specifically for legal advice, we recommend to contact the Fife Law Centre directly as we do not have legal expertise within our team. You can also find a solicitor by using the Scottish Legal Aid board.

For specialist advice on discrimination on Equality and Human Rights, we also recommend to use the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS)In Scotland the Scottish Human Rights Commission is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights of everyone in Scotland but does not have the power to provide legal assistance, advice or guidance to an individuals who believes that their human rights have been breached or who may wish to take a claim of human rights to court. The EASS can advise individuals across England, Scotland and Wales:

Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS)
Phone: 0808 800 0082
Website: www.equalityadvisoryser



You can use the online portal step-by-step procedure that  can help make clear how the Equality Act and Human Rights Act could apply in your specific situation:

EASS Advice and Guidance Portal

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