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The Equality Act 2017 aims to create equal opportunities and fair access for people in our community. The Act establishes both legal rights and legal obligations. The rights provide protection for individuals from different types of prohibited behaviour in specific situations. The types of behaviour are known as discrimination, harassment or victimisation. The Act also creates a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities.

Discrimination means treating someone unfairly because of who they are.

The Equality Act 2017 protects those who possess a certain characteristic known as 'protected characteristics' – we all have some of these characteristics.

These characteristics are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership (in employment only)
  • pregnancy and maternity 
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

The Act protects an individual from discrimination by:

  • employers
  • businesses and organisations which provide goods or services like banks, shops, hotels and cafes
  • hospitals, GPs and care homes
  • someone a person rents or buys a property from like a local authority, private landlord or an estate agent
  • schools, college or other education providers
  • private clubs and associations with 25 or more members like golf clubs and children’s activity clubs, such as scouts or guides
  • transport services like taxis or
  • public bodies like government departments and local authorities

Find out more about:

To view the full Equality Act 2017 and explanatory notes. (these explanatory notes are subject to change).

If you think you have been unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised please visit the action you can take page for contact information.

We are working hard to ensure that is as accessible as possible. Your feedback is really important to helping us do that. If you find any problems then please contact us and let us know. You can find more information on that on our Accessibility page.

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