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Equality North East

The challenges of bringing a multi-discrimination claim

Discrimination law in the UK has developed over time to reflect our changing attitudes as a society. The Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) was introduced to streamline the various and complicated anti-discrimination acts into one coherent piece of legislation, providing individuals with protection against discriminatory and/or harassing treatment in an employment or services context that are connected to a specified ‘protected characteristic’. These nine protected characteristics are: gender, age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and gender reassignment.

While the EqA 2010 directly addresses the issue of discrimination on the grounds of protected characteristics, it arguably falls short of recognising that, in reality, people have multi-dimensional identities and may suffer discrimination because of more than one protected characteristic at the same time; for example, a Muslim man or an older woman. At present, it is arguable that EqA 2010 requires us to compartmentalise different aspects of our identity rather than embracing diversity and promoting social cohesion.

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November 16, 2017

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