The primary purpose of the Act is to codify the complicated and numerous array of Acts and Regulations, which formed the basis of anti-discrimination law in Great Britain. This was, primarily, the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and three major statutory instruments protecting discrimination in employment on grounds of religion or belief, sexual orientation and age. This legislation has the same goals as the four major EU Equal Treatment Directives, whose provisions it mirrors and implements.
It requires equal treatment in access to employment as well as private and public services, regardless of the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. In the case of gender, there are special protections for pregnant women. However, the Act allows transsexual people to be barred from gender-specific services if that is “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.  In the case of disability, employers and service providers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their workplaces to overcome barriers experienced by disabled people. In this regard, the Equality Act 2010 did not change the law. Under s.217, with limited exceptions the Act does not apply to Northern Ireland
Defining disability under the equalties act – this is the part of the legal aspect of my job as a TA supporting students with individual needs
Under the Equality Act 2010 you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.
What substantial and long term mean:-
• ‘substantial’ is more than minor or trivial – eg it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task like getting dressed • ‘long-term’ means 12 months or more – eg a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection There are special rules about recurring or fluctuating conditions, for example, arthritis.
A progressive condition is a condition that gets worse over time. People with progressive conditions can be classed as disabled. However, you automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010 from the day you’re diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis. What isn’t counted as a disability
Some conditions aren’t covered by the disability definition. These include addiction to non–prescribed drugs or alcohol. To find out about the conditions which aren’t covered, download the ‘Equality Act Guidance’