Appendix A: The Equality Act 2010

The Act introduced protected characteristics for which discrimination is unlawful. The protected characteristics under the Act are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race (ethnic origin, nationality and race)
  • religion or belief (including lack of belief)
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

The legislation applies to both staff and students, before, during and after the relationship with the higher education institution (HEI).

The legislation covers employment, education, the provision of goods, facilities and services, the management of premises and the exercise of public functions.

The Act places general and specific duties on public authorities.

Under the general duty(4), public authorities are required to:

  • promote equality of opportunity
  • foster good relations between diverse groups
  • eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation

The specific duties for Scotland came into force on 27 May 2012.

For more information on the specific duties for Scotland see

(4) Applies to all protected characteristics other than marriage/ civil partnership.