Incomes Data Services has published the first authoritative, in-depth analysis of the Equality Act 2010.

The Act is a major consolidation of over 30 years’ worth of equality and discrimination law. The Briefing is available for free to help lawyers, HR professionals, trade unionists, public bodies and employees prepare for the changes contained in the Act‟s 251 pages.

Among the Act’s more controversial provisions are those addressing the equal pay gap and extending positive action to allow employers to select a candidate from a disadvantaged or under-represented group when choosing between job candidates as qualified as each other.

However, the Conservative party has suggested that many of the more contentious issues in the Act, including the extension of positive action and the implementation of socio-economic duties, would be scrapped should the Conservatives come to power on May 6th.

Annabel Rutherford, Editor of IDS Employment Law Brief, says: “This document will provide clear and concise information and analysis on the Equality Act for businesses and professionals.”

“The Briefing examines the measures put forward in the Act, questioning the extent to which it is likely to achieve their underlying aims. It also clarifies the way the Act consolidates current discrimination law and improves existing protection, which may present pitfalls for employers.”

“It also highlights the extent to which the Act‟s impact is still unknown. Section 1, for example, introduces a new duty on public bodies to address socio-economic inequality. This could leave public bodies open to judicial review proceedings for failure to consider this when recruiting.”

There are also important changes to the territorial scope of discrimination law. Currently, those who work „wholly or partly‟ in Great Britain are protected, subject to certain criteria, as are some employees who work wholly outside Great Britain. The Equality Act is silent as to its territorial scope, leaving it open to a narrower interpretation by judges.

An IDS Employment Law Guide to the Equality Act, taking into account the position of the next Government, will be published later this year.