The Equality Act 2006 (c 3) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom covering the United Kingdom. The 2006 Act is a precursor to the Equality Act 2010, which combines all of the equality enactments within Great Britain and provide comparable protections across all equality strands. Those explicitly mentioned by the Equality Act 2006 include age; disability; sex; proposed, commenced or completed gender reassignment; race; religion or belief and sexual orientation. The changes it made were:

Equality Act 2006[1]
Long titleAn Act to make provision for the establishment of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights; to dissolve the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission; to make provision about discrimination on grounds of religion or belief; to enable provision to be made about discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation; to impose duties relating to sex discrimination on persons performing public functions; to amend the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and for connected purposes.
Citation2006 c 3
Royal assent16 February 2006
Status: Amended
History of passage through Parliament
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

Overview edit

With the exception of the provision relating to goods and services discrimination in Northern Ireland on the grounds of sexual orientation, the Act relates to equality law in Great Britain, as a separate legislative framework exists for Northern Ireland which also has a separate equality body, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (though by and large reflecting the general approach to equality legislation in Great Britain).

Background edit

In 1998, the Runnymede Trust published a report by Bhikhu Parekh calling for a new Equality Act which would consolidate and advance existing legislation.[2]

The Equality Bill first appeared in the 2004/05 Session, but did not make it into law before Parliament was dissolved ahead of the 2005 general election. In its manifesto, the Labour Party promised to reintroduce the Bill, which it duly accomplished upon its reinstatement in Westminster.

At this stage, only "religion or belief" was included in the anti-discrimination clauses. The Labour Party specifically did not wish to ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.[3]

After the bill was reintroduced, further lobbying by openly gay Peer the Lord Alli succeeded in forcing the government to add homophobic discrimination to the Bill.

However, the lateness of this concession meant the extra provisions could not be included substantively in the primary legislation. Instead, legislators agreed to delegate the drafting of regulations to the Government. After a public consultation[4][5] and a protracted debate within the Cabinet,[6][7] these were eventually laid before Parliament as the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.

Further promised legislation also includes a provision to provide for protection for people in the provision of goods and services on the grounds of gender reassignment in order to comply with an EU Directive.

Cases under the Act edit

In mid-2010, following the June 2010 United Kingdom Budget, which allocated a series of cuts across government departments and the public sector, the Fawcett Society filed an action for judicial review, on the ground that the budget paid no regard to the disparate negative impact on women as it should have under section 84 of the Equality Act 2006 and section 76A of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. This requires every public authority, not excluding the Treasury or the Cabinet Office, to "have due regard to the need— (a) to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment, and (b) to promote equality of opportunity between men and women". It was alleged that the government failed to "have due regard" to the disparate impact of its budget on women.

Section 93 – Commencement edit

The following orders have been made under this section:

Notes edit

  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 95 of this Act.
  2. ^ "The Report: Part Three – Strategies of Change". Runnymede Trust. Archived from the original on 20 November 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  3. ^ The Times, 27 February 2005
  4. ^ Getting Equal: Proposals to Outlaw Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Provision of Goods & Services (PDF) (consultation document). 13 March 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2011. {{cite report}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)
  5. ^ Getting Equal: Proposals to outlaw sexual orientation discrimination in the provision of goods and services (PDF) (government response to consultation). March 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2011. {{cite report}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)
  6. ^ Hinsliff, Gaby (15 October 2006). "Cabinet split over new rights for gays". The Observer. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  7. ^ Wintour, Patrick (22 January 2007). "Cabinet row over adoptions by gay couples". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2020.

References edit

  • C. O'Cinneide, "The Commission for Equality and Human Rights: A New Institution for New and Uncertain Times" (2007) 36(2) Industrial Law Journal 141

External links edit