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How Equality Act 2010 applies to adult communication impairments in Britain

  1. Introduction
  2. Disability
  3. Discrimination
  4. Employment
  5. Services
  6. Education
  7. Advice & links

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This website has been produced by the
Communications Forum.
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Introduction to Equality Act 2010

This page gives a short overview of the Equality Act 2010.

The Equality Act in outline

The Equality Act 2010 came into force in October 2010. It replaced the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as well as anti-discrimination legislation on sex, race, religion and so on. Discrimination on all the different grounds is now covered by the Equality Act.

  • To be protected, an impairment - including a communication impairment - must normally be a 'disability' as defined in the Equality Act. The communication impairment may affect speech, understanding, writing, or any combination. In some cases there may even be a claim without an actual 'disability'. See the Disability section of this website.

  • There must normally be 'discrimination', 'harassment' or 'victimisation'. The Act defines what these are. Several different types of discrimination can apply to disability: for example treating someone unfavourably, or failing to make a reasonable adjustment. See Discrimination.

  • The 'Disability' and 'Discrimination' sections of this website are relevant to any claims under the Equality Act. However not all disability discrimination is covered, the discrimination must fall within the 'scope' of the Equality Act. For example, discrimination by a passer-by in the street, or by a friend in a social setting would not normally be covered. However, what falls within the scope of the Equality Act is very wide:

    • Employment and various other work-related situations are covered by the Equality Act. See Employment.

    • Provision of services and exercise of public functions is also normally covered, whether they are paid for or free. This ranges from goods, services and facilities supplied to the public by businesses or authorities, to public functions such as police and tax enforcement. see Provision of Services.

    • Education, at least in the public sector, is covered by separate rules within the Equality Act. In practice they will often lead to the same result as the general rules on provision of services. See Education.

    • There are other parts of the Equality Act which are not necessarily covered on this website. They include: trade unions, employers organisations and professional institutions; many other clubs and associations; and selling, letting or management of premises.

Equality Act 2010 only applies to Great Britain

The Equality Act 2010 applies to England, Wales and Scotland, known as 'Great Britain'. Accordingly this website only relates to England, Wales and Scotland.

The Equality Act does not apply to Northern Ireland (subject to small exceptions). Northern Ireland has separate disability discrimination legislation. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom but not of 'Great Britain'.

To a large extent, the Equality Act does not actually say what connection discrimination must have with Great Britain in order to be covered by the Act. Usually it will be clear, e.g. employment in Great Britain at an employer's premises in Britain. For less clear cases, this website does not go into any detail. In some situations, for example, even employment outside Great Britain may fall within the Equality Act. There is some discussion on Employment: Connection with Great Britain (link to and Provision of services: Connection with Great Britain (link to