There are nine ‘protected characteristics’ defined in the Equality Act (2010) and protected from discrimination. These are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, and sexual orientation. The Equality Act also extends protection against harassment across most of the protected characteristics, and extends protection to employees who have been harassed by third parties such as customers, suppliers or contractors to all the protected characteristics.
Further information about the Equality Act is available here:
The public sector equality duty places a general duty on public authorities (including universities), when exercising their functions, to have due regard to the need to:
For the purposes of the public sector equality duty, there are eight protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.) Marriage and civil partnership status is only covered by the first element of the duty (eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other unlawful conduct), and only in relation to employment.
On 27th May 2012, a new set of statutory regulations (the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012) came into force, placing a further set of equality duties upon Scottish public sector organisations (including universities). These duties supplement the duties brought in by the Equality Act 2010, and are intended to provide a framework to help institutions comply with the general duty.
In summary, the regulations place duties on the University to: