The Equality Act and Charities


Charity trustees who are concerned about the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on their charities should note that there are exemptions to the scope of the Act which apply to charities.
The Act prohibits discrimination in the provision of services on the basis of what are termed ‘protected characteristics’. These are:
  • age;
  • sex;
  • sexual orientation;
  • gender reassignment;
  • disability;
  • pregnancy and maternity;
  • race;
  • religion or belief; and
  • marriage and civil partnership.
Charities can potentially fall foul of the Act if they provide services only to one group of people (i.e. people with a specific disability).
The exemptions apply when the charity provides its services on a restricted basis but based on a protected characteristic if:
  • the charity’s governing document contains the restriction; and
  • the restriction addresses the disadvantage that particularly affects a person with a protected characteristic; or
  • the restriction is for some other reason a proportionate way of achieving a legitimate aim.
If you are concerned about the impact of any legislation on a charity of which you are a trustee or officer, we can advise you.

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