What is Public Sector Equality Duty?

The Equality Act and who it applies to?


The Equality Act  brings together for the first time all the legal requirements on equality that the private, public and voluntary sectors need to follow. 


It affects equality law at work and in delivering all sorts of services and running clubs. 


It replaces all the existing equality law including:

  • The Equal Pay Act 1970

  • The Sex Discrimination Act 1975

  • The Race Relations Act 1976

  • The Disability Discrimination Act 1995


Most of the new law is based on current legislation which has been streamlined but there are some important differences, which are set out in these Modules. 

Who does the law protect?  

Whether at work as an employee or in using a service, the message (or purpose) of the Equality Act is that everyone has the right to be treated fairly at work or when using services. 


It protects people from discrimination on the basis of certain characteristics. These are known as protected characteristics and they vary slightly according to whether a person is at work or using a service.

How do you know if you have responsibilities under the law?  


All employers and service providers have a responsibility under the law to treat their employees and service users fairly. 


You are a service provider if you provide goods, facilities or services to the general public or section of it, regardless of whether these are free or paid for. If you are not providing services to the public, you are also likely to have responsibilities if you are a private club or association.


If you are an employer, the law generally still applies to you even if your workers are temporary, do not have written contracts of employment or are recruited to other positions such as trainees, apprentices or business partners.