Use This Information To Protect You
Equality Act (2010) is the legislation that protects Trans people from discrimination.
The Equality Act 2010 merged and homogenised much pre-existing Equalities legislation, including the Sex Discrimination Act. All employers and service providers, whatever their size, are bound by the Act. The Act highlights 9 protected characteristics: race, disability, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief, pregnancy/maternity, marriage/civil partnership and gender reassignment
The Equality Act 2010 defines gender reassignment as:
“A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” (Equality Act 2010, Section 7)
It is considered by the Act as a social process rather than a medical one – so whether someone has had surgery and/or hormones are not relevant issues. You do not need to be under medical supervision to qualify for protection – someone can self-identify as having this characteristic. The Equality Act protects people of all ages, regardless of whether they are children or adults.
The law essentially says that an organisation must not unlawfully discriminate against someone, or harass them because they have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. School pupils are protected.
Direct discrimination mainly occurs where a person is treated less favourably than other people as a result of having the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. Examples would include making no attempt to use someone’s chosen name and pronoun; not allowing access to the toilets of the appropriate gender; refusing to update their details on systems; forcing them into a non-customer facing role; or refusing to serve someone / not enabling access to services such as access to hostels or to college trips.
In the Equality Act 2010, harassment is defined as ‘unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual’. Examples might be transphobic or homophobic comments or “jokes”, spreading gossip, persistent inappropriate questioning or social media trolling and other online behaviour. It can also include isolation, exclusion, and making a person feel emotionally or physically unsafe.
ThePublic Sector Equality Duty(PSED) was also created under the Equality Act and introduced in 2011. It requires public sector organisations to demonstrate due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations in the course of developing policies and delivering services. It marks a move from rectification to prevention across all types of discrimination, harassment & victimisation, and from a passive approach to equality, to positive promotion of equality.
As well as the Equality Act, schools and colleges and other institutions that fall under OFSTED have further duties:
OFSTED: Education and Inspections Act 2006
Teachers have a legal duty to ensure all forms of bullying is dealt with in schools. This includes transphobic, homophobic, gender and sexist related bullying.
Under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 head teachers, with the advice and guidance of governors and the assistance of school staff, must identify and implement measures to promote good behaviour, respect for others and self discipline amongst pupils and to prevent all forms of bullying.
ESTYN is comparable to OFSTED in Wales, and HMIE in Scotland