The Equality Act 2010

The act covers nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, so the act protects everyone against unfair treatment. The protected characteristics are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Carers are protected through association with disability but is not one of the nine protected characteristics.

The Equality Act sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone, such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation and failing to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person.

The act prohibits unfair treatment in the workplace, when providing goods, facilities and services, when exercising public functions, in the disposal and management of premises, in education and by associations (such as private clubs).

Equality duties

The General Equality Duty
The Equality Act 2010 also places proactive duties on public authorities, these are called the General Equality Duties. These duties apply to all of the protected characteristics:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups
  • foster good relations between people from different groups

The Specific Equality Duties
The General Equality Duties are supported by two specific duties. These are two duties that ask public authorities to publish information to evidence their compliance with the General Duties and produce objectives to evidence how they will promote and meet the General Equality Duties.

Somerset Equality Objectives 2019 to 2023

Public authorities have to prepare and publish one or more equality objectives that they think they can achieve in order to meet the general equality duty. Any objectives need to be specific and measurable. The general equality duty requires that public authorities, in the exercise of their functions, must have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those that do not

The Equality Objectives identified on this page aim to embed and champion equality within Somerset Council and Somerset. These objectives will work together with a joint set of actions identified by the Somerset Equality Officers Group.

Contact the team

Corporate Equalities Team
Somerset Council,
County Hall,
Phone 01823 359221
Fax 01823 355529

Last reviewed: November 23, 2023 by James

Next review due: May 23, 2024

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