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New equality legislation in full effect from 1 January 2020

Monday, 30 December 2019

The right to equality of opportunity and protection from discrimination, harassment and victimisation will be strengthened in the Isle of Man from 1 January 2020 when the Equality Act 2017 comes into full operation.

Most of the Act came in to force on 1 January 2019, however, the remaining provisions will come in to effect on 1 January 2020.

The change in the law provides equality of opportunity and makes it unlawful to discriminate, harass or victimise a person when providing goods, services or public functions, in education, in employment or as a member of an association on the basis of a person’s:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation.

Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK, said:

'The Isle of Man is an inclusive and caring community. This trait is woven into the fabric of our society and is one of the many qualities of our Island life that makes me proud to be Manx. 

'The Equality Act 2017 enshrines into the law of our Island the right to equality of opportunity and protection from discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

'This new legislation will be fully implemented on 1 January 2020, and everyone needs to be aware of what this means and the implications for rights and obligations. We have phased the changes in over two-and-a-half years so that businesses, organisation and individuals have had time to adjust.

'We want everyone to be fully supported so guidance is being made available, some of which is being published today, with more to follow in the coming months.'

Code of Practice on Employment

A Code of Practice on Employment was laid before Tynwald following a period of consultation earlier this year.

The code gives detailed explanations of the Act’s provisions, explaining the concepts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation in everyday work situations. It also provides practical employer guidance for recruitment and during employment, including the duty to make workplace adjustments which are reasonable.

The code will assist the Employment and Equality Tribunal when interpreting the law and help advocates, advisers, trade union representatives, human resources professionals and others who need to apply the law.

Code of Practice on Services, Public Functions and Associations

A public consultation will begin shortly on a second code of practice. This relates to services, public functions and associations. 

The main purpose of this second code is to provide a detailed explanation of the Act and set out practical examples of how it applies in situations relating to accessing goods and services, the exercise of public functions and membership of associations with more than 25 members.

Guidance on the Definition of Disability

Guidance on the definition of disability, to be effective from 1 January 2020.

The guidance is primarily designed for the Employment and Equality Tribunal which determines cases brought under the Act. The definition of disability for the purposes of the Act is a legal definition and ultimately it is only the Tribunal which can determine whether a person meets that definition. The guidance is also likely to be of value to a range of people and organisations as an explanation of how the definition operates, whilst providing illustrative examples of what determines a disability.

Tynwald this month also approved the Equality Act 2017 (Disability) Regulations 2019. These will replace the equivalent regulations made under the Disability Discrimination Act 2006, with some minor modifications on 1 January 2020 and enable the clarification of what may and may not be deemed to be a disability under the Equality Act 2017.

More information about the Equality Act 2017 can be found online at or by contacting the team on or +44 1624 686065.​ 

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