The Equal Opportunities Act has been created within the UK in order to protect people against discrimination, harassment and the victimisation in employment and education. This Act protects people on different criteria including Age, Disability, Race, Religion or belief, Sex/Gender and Sexual Orientation. This Act is relevant in general life, although it is often most relevant within the work environment. In such cases it is often the responsibility of employers to ensure that the organisation adhered to the equal opportunities legislation. Although individual employees are also liable to the consequences if they are found to be breaching the legislation.
Within this Act are numerous other legislative Acts that relate to the protection of different employees and people.
The Employment Equality Regulations 2006 ensures that discrimination, harassment and victimization on the grounds of age is illegal. People who are applying for jobs can therefore not be discriminated against on the basis of how old they are, this does not just relate to the older generation but means that younger people can not be denied a job or the chance to apply for a job (exemptions apply) based on their age.
Disability is also covered within the equal opportunities act, this includes the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995. This prohibits the discrimination against people on the grounds of disability. This includes the appointment of people to a job role on the basis that the individual is disabled. The act includes the requirement for employers to ensure that they are able to accommodate for people who are disabled, reasonable adjustments must be made to allow the individuals to carry out a job in the same way a non-disabled person would.
The Race Relations Act 1976 ensure that people are discriminated against on the basis of race, national origin or ethnic origin. The act also states that people should no be harassed or victimized against on the basis of these terms. Employers should have an equal opportunities act in place that has details of the Race Relations Act.
The Employment Equality Regulations 2003 is an act that prevents the discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 has been created to ensure that neither sex/gender are discriminated against. This should mean that both men and women have an equal opportunity of securing a job, their gender should be of irrelevance to the employer. In some cases there are certain exemptions although these are outlined within the law.
Employers should have their own equal opportunities policies and employees should be provided with a copy of this information to ensure that they are fully aware of the legal remedies involved.
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