Combining more than 116 separate pieces of legislation into one Act, the Equality Act of 2010 provides Britain with new laws to protect people against discrimination, explains the Equality and Human Rights Commission. It became official on October 1, 2010, whereas the Regulations became effective September 10, 2011, notes The University of Edinburgh.
The Equality Act of 2010 merges nine regulations: The Equal Pay Act of 1970, the Race Relations Act of 1976, the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975, the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 and the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations of 2003, states the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Additionally, it unites the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations from 2003, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations of 2006, part two of The Equality Act from 2006 and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations of 2007.
The legislation identifies specific protected characteristics, including age, gender reassignment, disability, pregnancy, and marital status and civil status, notes The National Archives of the United Kingdom. It also offers protection on the basis of religion, race, sexual orientation and sex.
With the legislation in place, lawmakers hope to eliminate discrimination and victimization, encourage positive relationships between people who have protected characteristics, and foster equal opportunities, according to The University of Edinburgh. A component to this is the encouragement of people in certain groups to be active in public life or activities where that group's involvement is typically low.