In many parts of the world, a great deal of efforts has been made in order to get rid of or minimize gender, ethnic, and racial discrimination. The efforts made to overcome the problem have revealed that the sources of discrimination cannot be eliminated from the society. Despite several efforts to eliminate discrimination, the problem stay prevails in the society (Stromwall et al, 2011, pp. 472–481). Sex Discrimination Act was developed based on the assumption that women are an economic underclass. Women need protection in terms of the way they are treated. The anti-discriminatory laws have been developed in order to protect women from discriminators and to compensate them for the loss (Stromwall et al, 2011, pp. 472–481).
It must be noted that the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 and Equal Pay Act of 1970 were introduced at the same time. These acts are mutually exclusive in terms of their operation. The difference between these two acts is that the Equal Pay Act 1970 is applied to contractual terms while the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 was applied to discrimination faced by women because of their gender (Stromwall et al, 2011, pp. 472–481). The Sex Discrimination Act covers issues such as recruitment and promotion of women at the workplace. The Sex Discrimination Act is also applied to women equally as men. Nevertheless, the scope of the Act is limited in certain ways. The application of the Act has been modified in terms of its relation to the law enforcement agencies (Stromwall et al, 2011, pp. 472–481).
The Sex Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act were developed and implemented in order to prevent discrimination against women. The development of these acts is only the beginning of the movement. In the year 2010, the Equality Act was developed in order to balance the role of both men and women. The Equality Act of 2010 has replaced the previous anti-discriminatory acts. The single Act has removed inconsistencies present in previous laws and strengthened the law. The Equality Law has supported effective decision-making and ensured that proper policies are developed to maintain a balance between the rights of men and women.
The Equal Pay Act is based on the principle that both men and women must receive equal payments for work. The Act ensures that women must be entitled to get same benefits as received by men (Stromwall et al, 2011, pp. 472–481). Women can claim equal salary as received by men. The Equality Act 2010 also advises employers to include an equality clause in to the employment contracts of female employees. According to that clause, the less favorable terms in the employment contract of women must be replaced with more favorable terms (Stromwall et al, 2011, pp. 472–481).
The female employees, in an organization are often discriminated in several ways. One of the ways used for discrimination against women is glass ceiling effect. Furthermore, women also suffer from sticky floor effects in different parts of the world (Esses, 2009, pp. 465–509, pp. 465–509). Sticky floor refers to discriminatory patterns which prevents certain people from going up to the corporate ladder. This effect keeps women to the lower position in an organization. In the society the job roles, which are often recommended to women, include nurses, secretaries, and others. On the other side, the term class ceiling effect is used to describe conditions, which prevent women from going up. Women who face the problem of glass ceiling are more educated than women who face the sticky effect problem. Women with small children also face problems in their professional lives. Gender penalty is also faced by pregnant women and older women. The Equality Duty covers different aspects. These aspects include age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy, race, marriage, and others (Esses, 2009, pp. 465–509).
Aims of the Equality Act (2010)
The Equality Act of the year 2010 aimed to cover the following laws:
- The first aim of the Law was to avoid unlawful discrimination in terms of harassment and other conducts
- The second aim was to ensure equal opportunities for people
- The third aim was to ensure good relations between both genders
The Equality Act (2010) is based on the objective of avoiding different sorts of discrimination which prevail in the society. The Act also aims to ensure that equal opportunities are provided to all people.
The Equality Act of 2010 has harmonized discrimination law through many ways. One of these ways is the expansion in the concept of discrimination. The Act has widened the concept of discrimination in order to avoid unlawful treatments of gender.
The Equality Act has widened the scope of discrimination in order to avoid unlawful treatment of people because of their characteristic. This means that it is unlawful for people to discriminate against others. For instance, if a person is responsible for the care of a disable person, the caregiver must not discriminate against the disable (Esses, 2009, pp. 465–509).
The Sex Discrimination Act has redefined the legislation for gender roles. The Act protects people of both gender and all ages. However, the differential treatment of people because of their age is not unlawful. Therefore, age is the protected characteristic in which employers can justify direct discrimination. The Act allows employers to set 65 as the retirement age (Sipe et al, 2009, pp. 339–349).
The Equality Act (2010) has facilitated disable people. The Act protects disable people from discrimination. According to the Act, a person is disable if they he or she has mental or physical impairment. The Act defines disability as the condition, which prevents people from performing their daily activities in a proper manner. Disability has a substantial impact on the ability of people to carry out their daily activities (Esses, 2009, pp. 465–509).
The Equality Act (2010) has not only provided protected to both genders but it has also protected the rights of transsexual people. Transsexual people are those who propose to change their gender. For example, the Act covers a woman who decides to undergo a surgery are covered by the Act. The transgender people who are living as cross dressers are not protected by the Act. The Act has made it unlawful to treat transsexual people in a discriminatory manner. If a transgender employee wants to take leaves in order to go through the surgery of gender reassignment, the company must give permission (Sipe et al, 2009, pp. 339–349).
The Equality Act also protects employees who are a part of any civil partnership or are married. The Act does not provide protection to single people. The Equality Act of the year 2010 also provides protection to pregnant women. During the pregnancy period, the employers are required to consider the needs of women (Esses, 2009, pp. 465–509). The absence of women from work because of pregnancy must be considered by the employer. The Equality Act makes it illegal for people to discriminate based on color or ethnic background. Furthermore, people are also protected based on their religion. The employees who do not follow any religion must be protected by the employer. There are many businesses, which do not give equal salary to men and women employees. If women are paid less because of their gender, they have the right to bring a sex discrimination claim (Sipe et al, 2009, pp. 339–349).
Types of Discrimination in the Act
Protected characteristics can be defined as the grounds where discrimination is considered to be unlawful. The protected characteristics, in the act, are age, civil partnership, pregnancy, sexual orientation, race, and others (Lansing and Cory, 2009, pp. 43–66).
Direct discrimination can be defined as the form of discrimination where employees are not treated favorably because of their protected characteristic or because of their association with someone who has a protected characteristic (Lansing and Cory, 2009, pp. 43–66).
Associative discrimination is the kind of discrimination, which is applied to race, religion, and sexual orientation of people. The Equality Act has further extended the scope of its associative discrimination policies in order to include age, gender reassignment, and disability. It also involves discriminating people directly because of their association with someone who has a protected characteristic (Lansing and Cory, 2009, pp. 43–66).
This kind of discrimination involves different grounds including race, age, sexual orientation, belief, and others. This also involves gender reassignment, sex, and disability (Doherty, 2011, pp. 52–53).
Indirect discrimination is applied to sexual orientation, beliefs, race, age, civil partnership, and marriage. The policies for discrimination also cover gender reassignment and disability. Indirect discrimination refers to conditions when a certain educational institution or employer has policies, which are discriminatory for disadvantaged people (Esses, 2009, pp. 465–509).
Harassment is a conduct, which is related to a protected characteristic. Harassment is done with the purpose of violating the individual dignity. Harassment is applied to protected characteristics. Employees do not need to possess specific characteristics in order to be protected against harassment. The Act also involves Third Party Harassment policies, which are applied to sex. The new Act has also covered gender reassignment, religion, sexual orientation, and others. The Equality Act has made institutes liable for harassment of students and employees (Lansing and Cory, 2009, pp. 43–66).
Victimization can be defined as a process where employees are treated badly because they have filed a complaint. Employees are not protected from victimization if they have filed an untrue complaint.
A person is said to be disable if he or she has physical or mental impairment with adverse effects on their daily activities. The Act has introduced a new protection from discrimination. The Act declares that a person must not be treated in an unequal manner if he or she is suffering from disability. A disabled person should not be treated unfavorably. For example, if a person is suffering from dyslexia, the employer must avoid spelling mistakes (Stromwall, Lynn and Kathy, 2011, pp. 472–481).
It is legally allowed to take positive action when required. The positive action is taken when employees make provisions in order to alleviate disadvantages. Employees also make provisions when they observe under representation. The positive action, taken by employees, is voluntary (Stromwall, et al., 2011, pp. 472–481).
The General Positive Action measures were introduced in the year 2010. These measures replicated the previous legislations. The positive action treatments can be used for the purpose off recruitment and promotion. In order to use positive action for promotion and recruitment, it is important to meet certain conditions. First of all, it is important to assume that people with a protected characteristic are disadvantaged or under-represented. The positive action must be used as a way to address a certain disadvantage (Miller, Albert, and Jean, 2009, pp. 173–175).
The Equality Act 2010 requires authorities to increase the number of opportunities available to people of both genders. The Act also requires institutions to ensure that equal opportunities are provided to people regardless of their race, religion, and disability. The educational institutions and employers are required to encourage people with protected characteristic to participate in public life. The Equality Act 2010 has contributed positively towards the participation of people in the public and social life. The Equality Act 2010 has also allowed authorities to remove disadvantages because of shared protected characteristic (A S, 2006).
Women often experience the problem of unequal pay at the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 involves different legislations and regulations, which ensure that equal pay is offered to both male and female employees. The Act requires public sector organizations to provide information about gender gap pay. The Act also asked those organizations to determine whether they need an equality objective in order to avoid gender gaps.
The section 71 of the Act has made it legal for people to claim against their employer if their contractual pay conditions are biases. The section 77 of the act prevents people from victimization if they have filed a complaint against their employer. The Act also provides protection based on sexual orientation of people. The protected characteristic of sexual orientation has been defined as the sexual orientation of people towards people of different or same sex (Leslie and Michele, 2008, pp. 123–140).
There are several implications of the Equality Act 2010 for personalized social care of people. The Act has developed and provided a legal framework, which is based on the personalization of social case. The Act ensures that people of both genders receive effective services. The Equality Act provides protection to people who have protected characteristics (Leslie and Michele, 2008, pp. 123–140).
There are different case laws, which can be used to understand different aspects of The Act. One of these cases is of Jane. She is the mother of a child who is disabled. Jane cannot enter into a public library because she is accompanying a disable person. The Equality Act includes provisions, which provide protection to Jane. The discrimination, which is faced by Jane, is direct discrimination (Leslie and Michele, 2008, pp. 123–140).
There are also other case laws, which describe different aspects of the Act. Samantha is a heterosexual woman. The woman has a number of friends who are homosexuals. When she told her carer about her decision of entering into civil partnership, the carer perceived that Samantha was a homosexual. As a result, the carer exhibited discriminatory behavior towards Samantha. This form of perception happens when people are discriminated because others perceive them to possess a protected characteristic. This form of discrimination is known as perceptive discrimination (Lawson, 2011, pp. 359–383).
Victimization cases are also faced by legal advisors. These kinds of situations arise when an employee or another member of the society is treated in a bad manner because of his or her complaint against the discriminatory behavior (Sobre-Denton and Miriam, 2012, pp. 220–250, pp. 220–250). Sandy is a girl who filed a complaint against her male employer. Sandy complained that her employer was harassing her at several points. As a result of the complaint, the other male members of the staff also started to prevent Sandy from participating in important official matters. Sandy cannot enter into different group discussions because she filed the complaint. The Equality Act provides protection to people who are dealing with similar situations (Sipe, Douglas and Donna, 2009, pp. 339–349).
The Act has also made it imperative for service providers to make changes to their services. These modifications are also known as reasonable judgments. The service providers are required to make adjustments to their provisions so that a supportive environment is provided to all people (Sobre-Denton and Miriam, 2012, pp. 220–250).
The awareness of people regarding discrimination has been increasing rapidly. With the increase in awareness of people, the complexities associated with discrimination are also increasing (Sipe, Douglas and Donna, 2009, pp. 339–349). As a result of increasing complexities, it is not possible to fit all people into limited categories. The identities of people are diverse and complex. The equality laws have assumed that the treatment of people must be equal based on diverse characteristics. Individuals who are not treated equally must receive equal treatment. The Equality Act 2010 has ensured that the diverse identities of people are protected (Sipe, Douglas and Donna, 2009, pp. 339–349).
The Equality Act 2010 has introduced advanced tools, which can be used by employers. The Act has granted more powers for Employment Tribunals. The Employment Tribunals can make appropriate recommendations to employers. If employers breach the Equality Act, the Employment Tribunal can recommend employers to take specific actions. Therefore, employees can consult the Employment Tribunal in order to discuss their problem (Sobre-Denton and Miriam, 2012, pp. 220–250). The Equality Act required all public bodies to eliminate harassment, victimization, and discrimination. The Act also required authorities to provide equal opportunities to all employees (Sipe, Douglas and Donna, 2009, pp. 339–349).
The Equality Act (2010) has successfully replaced previous acts designed to overcoming discrimination in the society. The Act has successfully maintained a balance between the rights of the people of both genders. The Act has not only promoted equality based on gender but also on religious and ethnic backgrounds. The Act has also protected people based on their sexual orientation. Based on the Equality Act, people can also claim protection if they are suffering from any sort of disability. The law also protects people who file complaints against their employers or service providers.
Sobre-Denton, Miriam Shoshana. 2012. “Stories from the Cage: Autoethnographic Sensemaking of Workplace Bullying, Gender Discrimination, and White Privilege.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 41(2): 220–250.
Lawson, Anna. 2011. “Disability and Employment in the Equality Act 2010: Opportunities Seized, Lost and Generated.” Industrial Law Journal 40(4): 359–383.
Leslie, Lisa M, and Michele J Gelfand. 2008. “The who and when of internal gender discrimination claims: An interactional model.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 107(2): 123–140.
Lansing, Paul, and Cory Cruser. 2009. “The Moral Responsibility of Business to Protect Homosexuals from Discrimination in the Workplace.” Employee Relations Law Journal 35(1): 43–66.
Doherty, Michael. 2011. “Evolutionary rather than Revolutionary: The Equality Act 2010.” Business Law Review 32(3): 52–53.
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Sipe, Stephanie, C Douglas Johnson, and Donna K Fisher. 2009. “University Students’ Perceptions of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace: Reality versus Fiction.” Journal of Education for Business 84(6): 339–349
A S, L. 2006. “Federal Court Suggests Paradigm Shift in Evaluating Trans Discrimination Claims Under Title VII.” Lesbian Gay Law Notes: 61–62
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Esses, D L. 2009. “Afraid to be myself, even at home: a transgender cause of action under the fair housing act.” Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems 42(4): 465–509.