Equalities Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.

It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it's unlawful to treat someone.

A Person has a disability if:

  • the person has a physical or mental impairment, and.
  • the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on Person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Protected Characteristics

There are nine protected characteristics in the Equality Act. Discrimination which happens because of one or more of these characteristics is unlawful under the Act. We all have some of these characteristics - for example, sex or age - so the Act protects everyone from discrimination.

What are the protected characteristics?

The characteristics that are protected by the Equality Act 2010 are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage or Civil Partnership (in employment only)
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

Underwriting implications

Our core principle is to offer everyone the best terms wherever possible. We will only offer different terms or as a last resort decline cover, if there is a lawful reason based on relevant/reliable information.

Key points

Insurers are allowed to offer different terms based on age and disability history, where the decision can be justified by supporting actuarial/medical information.

Under the Equality Act, legal recourse must be sought within a six month period of the alleged act of discrimination. The onus is on the individual to show that there is a case to answer. If they are not happy with the response, the case can be taken to the County Court (Sheriff's Court in Scotland).

If discrimination is proven, the court may award compensation to the individual, including compensation for injury to their feelings. An injunction may also be granted to prevent a repeat of the discrimination act.