Background to Equality Laws

The Equality Act (2010) is the main piece of equalities law that provides protection from discrimination and harassment.  The Act ensures fairness in higher education for the following equality groupings known as ‘protected characteristics’: 

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race (inc. ethnicity, nationality)
  • Religion or Belief (inc. non-belief)
  • Sex (inc. Gender)
  • Sexual Orientation

Furthermore, as an institution in recipient of public funds, the Scottish Specifc Duties (2012) and the Public Sector Equality Duty (2011) also applies to the University.

This additional legislation places a legal duty on the University to demonstrate “due regard” to the following ‘General Duties’ relating to the Equality Act (2010)

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act 
  • foster good relations between people from different groups - this involves tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups 
  • advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups - this involves considering the need to: 
    • remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their ‘protected characteristics’
    • meet the needs of people with ‘protected characteristics’ 
    • encourage people with ‘protected characteristics’ to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is low


Updated: 15 Oct 2019