This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Equality Act 2010: implementation dates

This content applies to England & Wales

The main implementation dates for the Equality Act 2010.

The Equality Act 2010 received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010. Its provisions come into force at different times.

From 1 October 2010

The provisions relating to the following come into force on 1 October 2010:[1]

  • protection against direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation in services, public functions and premises
  • protection for people discriminated against because they are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has (eg carers), a protected characteristic
  • application of the European definition of indirect discrimination to all protected characteristics
  • extension of protection from indirect discrimination to disability
  • introduction of new concept of 'discrimination arising from disability', to replace protection under previous legislation lost as a result of the Malcolm judgment
  • applying the detriment model to victimisation protection (aligning with the approach in employment law)
  • harmonised thresholds for the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people
  • extension of protection from third party harassment to all protected characteristics
  • harmonisation provisions allowing voluntary positive action.

New public sector equality duty

The new public sector equality duty[2] came into force on 5 April 2011. This new 'single' equality duty replaced the former gender, race and disability equality duties to reflect the introduction of the new protected characteristics and key concepts of the Equality Act 2010.

The public sector equality duties under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 remain in force for proceedings brought under those Acts for discriminatory acts occurred wholly before 1 October 2010 (see Transitional arrangements below).[3]

For more information on the new duty see the Public sector equality duty page.

Still unknown

Implementation date is still being considered for the provisions relating to:

  • dual discrimination (under section 14)
  • duty to make reasonable adjustments to common parts of leasehold (under section 36)
  • duty to make reasonable adjustments to commonhold premises (under section 36)
  • family property (under part 15)
  • the socio-economic duty on public authorities (under Part 1 of the Act).[4]

Repeals and revocations

The legislation being repealed or revoked on 1 October includes:[5]

  • Equal Pay Act 1970
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • Race Relations Act 1976
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
  • Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
  • Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
  • Equality Act 2006, Part 2
  • Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.

Transitional provisions cover situations where people have brought, or might in future be involved in, legal proceedings brought under legislation repealed or revoked by the Equality Act 2010 (see below).

Transitional arrangements

The situations covered by the transitional arrangements of the Equality Act 2010 cover:

  • unlawful conduct (ie discrimination, harassment or victimisation) occurring wholly before 1 October 2010
  • unlawful conduct occurring before 1 October 2010 and continuing on or after
  • unlawful conduct occurring wholly on or after 1 October 2010.

Wholly before 1 October 2010

If a person has been discriminated against, harassed or victimised and the discriminatory act occurred wholly before 1 October 2010, the Equality Act 2010 will not apply. Instead, the provisions in the legislation repealed or revoked on 1 October will apply. This includes using the old forms for obtaining information about the discriminatory act. Such complaints and legal proceedings will proceed as if none of the Equality Act 2010 had been brought into force.[6]

Before 1 October 2010 and continuing on or after

If a person has been discriminated against, harassed or victimised before 1 October 2010 and that discriminatory act continued on or after 1 October 2010 so that it is considered to be a continuing act, s/he will need to bring a complaint or legal proceedings under the Equality Act 2010. The relevant provisions of the Act are mostly contained in Part 9 (enforcement) which is broadly similar to the repealed or revoked legislation in terms of how and where claims are to be brought.[7]

Wholly on or after 1 October 2010

If a person has been discriminated against, harassed or victimised on or after 1 October, the Equality Act 2010 applies.

Victimisation complaints

If a person thinks to have been victimised on or after 1 October 2010 because s/he has done or may do (or is suspected of doing) a 'protected act' that took place before 1 October (for example, because s/he has previously made a claim of disability discrimination), the victimisation complaint or legal proceedings should be brought under section 27 of the Equality Act 2010. The Act applies even when the 'protected act' was done under the previous legislation.[8]

[1] s.2 Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No.4, Savings, Consequential, Transitional, Transitory and Incidental Provisions and Revocation) Order 2010 SI 2010/2317.

[2] ss.149-157 Equality Act 2010.

[3] s.9 Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No.4, Savings, Consequential, Transitional, Transitory and Incidental Provisions and Revocation) Order 2010 SI 2010/2317.

[4] On 17 November 2010, the Government announced that it will not be taking forward Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010 relating to the socio-economic duty for public bodies.

[5] Sch.27 Equality Act 2010, as amended by sch.2 Equality Act 2010 (Consequential Amendments, Saving and Supplementary Provisions) Order 2010 SI 2010/2279.

[6] s.15 Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No.4, Savings, Consequential, Transitional, Transitory and Incidental Provisions and Revocation) Order 2010 SI 2010/2317.

[7] s.7 Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No.4, Savings, Consequential, Transitional, Transitory and Incidental Provisions and Revocation) Order 2010 SI 2010/2317.

[8] s.8 Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No.4, Savings, Consequential, Transitional, Transitory and Incidental Provisions and Revocation) Order 2010 SI 2010/2317.

Back to top