02 What the Equality Act 2010 means for cinemas
The Equality Act 2010 provides the legal framework that protects disabled people from discrimination, however achieving equality and promoting diversity is not only about legal compliance but is a key ingredient to modern day organisational development.
The main purpose of the Equality Act 2010 is to streamline and strengthen anti-discrimination legislation in Great Britain. It provides the legal framework that protects people, including disabled people, from discrimination. It replaces a range of anti-discrimination legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and subsequent amendments with a single Act.
There are seven protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 which include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
Aims of the Equality Act 2010:
- Attempts to bring all equality legislation into a coherent whole
- Works with “protected characteristics”
- Recognises “dual discrimination” for the first time in English law
- Introduces a new, single, Public Sector Equality Duty
- Protects people who experience discrimination or harassment because they are associated with a disabled person (family, friends, carers) and people who are perceived to be disabled
- Makes it unlawful for an employer to ask questions related to disability and health before a job offer except in specified circumstances.
Under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably because they are disabled. The service provider must not indirectly discriminate against a disabled person unless there is a clear reason to do so.
Service providers must also not treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their impairment, unless there is a clear and fair reason. For this form of discrimination the service provider must know or should reasonably have been expected to know that the person is disabled.
A service provider must not harass a disabled person in relation to access to everyday services. There is protection from direct disability discrimination and harassment for people who are associated with a disabled person or who are wrongly believed to be disabled.
Service providers have to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people in the way they deliver their services. This is so that a disabled person is not put at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people in accessing the services.