Equality Act Amendments

News  |   19 December 2023

Written by
Emma Thompson, Partner

Draft amendments to the Equality Act 2010 have now been published, which are planned to come into effect from 1 January 2024. The Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Regulations 2023 include some EU-derived discrimination protections, which would otherwise have been removed at the end of this year as part of the Brexit process.

There are five most notable changes to the Equality Act that will be made under this amendment:

  • Bringing an indirect discrimination claim under the Equality Act requires an individual to possess the protected characteristic against which the employer’s provision, criterion or practice is discriminatory. The amendments will allow an individual to bring an indirect discrimination claim if they suffer the same disadvantage, even if they themselves do not possess the protected characteristic.
  • An amendment to guidance on the definition of disability to state that consideration of a person’s “ability to participate fully and effectively in working life” on an equal basis with other workers is relevant when looking at “day-to-day activities”.
  • The Regulations amend the Equality Act so that the EU ‘single source’ test applies to domestic law. This will enable equal pay claims to be brought using comparators whose terms are attributable to a single body responsible for setting pay or whose terms are determined by the same collective agreement, even if they are not employed by the same or an associated employer.
  • An extension of direct discrimination protection to cover discriminatory statements made about not wanting to recruit people with certain protected characteristics, even where there is no active recruitment process ongoing and no identifiable victim. Employers may also be liable for statements by third parties in this context if there are reasonable grounds for the public to believe that the third party is capable of exercising decisive influence on the employer’s recruitment decision.
  • Confirmation that employment discrimination on grounds of breastfeeding will be covered by the amendments made to the Equality Act, under the protected characteristic of sex.

For further information, please contact a member of our Employment team on 020 8290 0440 who will be happy to advise you.

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