Acas uses cookies to ensure we give you the best experience and to make the site simpler. Find out more about cookies.

Website URL :

Acas asks businesses: Are you prepared for the Equality Act changes?

Thursday 08 July 2010

Businesses need to review and update their current policies and procedures to reflect changes in the Equality Act

Acas, the employment relations service, has today launched new guidance to help businesses understand and prepare for the changes to the new single Equality Act. The new Acas quick start guidance The Equality Act 2010 demonstrates what these changes mean in practice.

John Taylor Acas Chief Executive said: 'Fairness in the workplace is good business and motivates staff as well as improving effectiveness and productivity. Last year Acas received around 32,000 calls on diversity and discrimination related issues.  Our new guide helps businesses and managers understand what the changes mean in practice and what action employers will need to take.'

Changes have occurred in the following areas:

  • Third party harassment - employers are potentially liable if their staff are harassed by people they don't employ such as external suppliers or customers
  • Pre-employment health checks - from October employers should no longer send out pre-health questionnaires with employment application packs. There are some exemptions, for example around questions related to making reasonable adjustments for the person in the selection process if they are disabled
  • Powers of employment tribunal recommendations- employment tribunals can require employers found guilty of discrimination to take steps to require them to change their policies and practices to prevent further discrimination
  • Pay secrecy - if your contract of employment requires your employees to keep pay secret, you will find that the equality act make this requirement unenforceable. An employer can still require employees to keep pay rates confidential from others outside the workplace, such as competitors.

The new changes come into effect from October and so it is imperative that businesses understand the changes which will impact them, and have reviewed and updated current policies by this date.

If you would like to speak to an Acas expert on managing performance the Equality Act workplace changes in the workplace or for other media enquiries please contact Clare Carter, Press and PR Manager on 020 7210 3688/Lou Owen, Media and Marketing Officer on 020 7210 3920.

Notes for editors

Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.