Introduction to the equality act- Part 3- Discrimination within wider society

In previous articles we set out the characteristics which are protected under the Equality Act 2010, namely age, sex, pregnancy or maternity, marriage and civil partnership, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

(For further information on protected characteristics, you can read more here.)

Most people understand discrimination can take place within the workplace, but had you appreciated the other environments within wider society where discrimination can affect people on a day-to- day basis?

Below are 5 examples of environments where discrimination can arise.

(For further information on discrimination, you can read more here.)

  1. Housing:

Have you ever been told you couldn’t get housing, and something didn’t feel right?

Do you think your landlord enforces rules on you that other tenants of a different nationality or sex don't have to follow?

Have you been harassed or evicted even though you paid the rent and followed the rules?

If something like this has happened to you, you may have been discriminated against in a housing setting.

Discrimination within housing can manifest in a number of different ways including discriminatory rental or sales practices, unequal access to housing opportunities and harassment or intimidation or denial of access. The Equality Act 2010 covers discrimination within housing in part 4 of the Act. You can read more into checking if your housing issue is discrimination on the Citizens Advice webpage here.

  1. Service Providers

Have you ever felt as though you have received a lesser quality of service at a store due to your race or sexual orientation?

Have you ever faced barriers to accessing a ballot station due to your age or disability?

Have you ever been denied the opportunity to breastfeed your child in a restaurant or other public space?

If something like this has happened to you, you may have been discriminated against in a public setting.

Part 3 of the Equality Act 2010 focusses on discrimination within services and public functions. This essentially provides it is unacceptable when providing a service to the public, whether for payment or not, to refuse to offer that service to a person based on their protected characteristics.

  1. Education:

Have you ever felt segregated in school due to your race or gender?

Have you ever been denied the ability to participate in the same learning activities or programs as others, because of your disability or religious beliefs?

If something like this has happened to you, you may have been discriminated against in an education setting.

Part 6 of the Equality Act 2010 governs discrimination in education. Discrimination in education can manifest in;

  • unequal access to resources/ provision of education
  • discriminatory biases within admissions
  • unfair treatment from teachers
  • biases in grading and evaluation
  • school policies relating to school uniforms

You can read more about discrimination in education here.

  1. Healthcare:

Have you ever felt harassment or victimisation due to a lack of cultural competence or language barriers when receiving medical care which has led to miscommunication and inadequate treatment?

Have you ever been denied care or suffered delayed or substandard care due to discriminatory attitudes or biases held by medical professionals as a consequence of your religion or beliefs?

If something like this has happened to you, you may have been discriminated against in a healthcare setting.

Healthcare discrimination can take various forms, such as disparities in healthcare accessibility, insufficient medical care, and partiality in medical judgments. Under the Equality Act 2010, individuals are protected from discrimination by both public and private health and care services.

You can read further into discrimination within health and care services via the Citizens Advice webpage here.

  1. Law Enforcement:

Have you ever felt the police have used an excessive amount of force in an arrest due to your sexual orientation?

Have you ever felt you were stopped by the police due to racial profiling?

Do you feel as if a complaint you have made to the police has not been taken seriously due to your gender?

If something like this has happened to you, you may have been discriminated against in a law enforcement setting.

Law enforcement discrimination can take various forms, such as differential treatment, harassment, excessive use of force, and partiality in policing methods.

The police, being a public entity, are required to adhere to the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). This requires that they must always consider the elimination of discrimination, and promotion of equal opportunities for individuals sharing protected characteristics, when implementing policies and making decisions. In practice, this involves conducting an Equality Impact Assessment when drafting policies or plans, such as a plan for handling a particular protest. The assessment aims to determine the potential impact of the plan on groups sharing different protected characteristics and minimize any potential illegal discrimination.

If you feel that the police have discriminated against you or have been rude, hostile, or uncooperative, you have the option of filing a police complaint. If you believe that the police have subjected you to direct or indirect discrimination or harassment based on a protected characteristic, you may be entitled to file a discrimination lawsuit against them. Furthermore, if the police have unlawfully searched, arrested, or detained you or used undue force against you, you may have additional legal recourse.

At Saunders Law, we specialise in providing expert legal assistance and representation to individuals who wish to file civil claims against the police. In addition, we also assist clients in filing complaints or other challenges against police officers or forces involved in their cases. Our firm has a reputation for taking strong legal action against the police and other public authorities, and we are dedicated to achieving the appropriate compensation for the harm suffered by our clients. Our team of solicitors within the Civil Liberties and Actions against the Police Department are highly skilled and experienced in handling these types of cases.

For free advice on discrimination law, you can contact the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS). More details about what their services offer and how to contact them can be found here.

If you feel your rights under the Equality Act 2010 have been infringed, contact our lawyers. They are always happy to discuss your concerns. Feel free to call them on 0207 632 4300 or make an enquiry online.


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