Equality & anti-discrimination law

The Equality Act protects people against discrimination, victimisation, and harassment.

It is unlawful to treat someone unfavourably due to their protected characteristics - age, disability, gender reassignment (including gender identity), marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

However, there are exceptions, including for charities and women only organisations.

How we help

We help charities, public bodies, membership bodies, employers and other organisations to comply with their obligations under the Equality Act. We review and draft equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies and procedures. We advise on inclusion of minorities, particularly where there are competing interests, including advice on lawful positive action.

Our Employment and Dispute Resolution teams also help with bringing or defending Equality Act complaints and claims by beneficiaries, service users, employees, members and volunteers.

Relevant work

  • A large national charity wished to improve the diversity of its trustee board by selecting candidates based on race, gender and other protected characteristics. We advised on the lawful application of positive action measures under the Equality Act 2010.
  • We advised CGD Europe on the high profile claim by Maya Forstater in the Employment Tribunal concerning transgender rights and the right to express views on sex and gender identity
  • We advised a single sex young people’s charity on challenges to their transgender inclusion policy.
  • We represented The Green Party in proceedings for alleged discrimination, harassment, and victimisation in relation to gender critical beliefs.
  • We advised a national youth charity on reasonable adjustments for children with learning difficulties.
  • We advised a national membership charity on responding to allegations of racial discrimination.
  • We advised a college associated with a charity on various allegations made by and against senior post holders, including allegations of race discrimination and bullying.
  • We advised a university on using exemptions in equality law so they can offer a grant only to people who are disadvantaged.
  • We advised a charity that offers childcare on making reasonable adjustments to accommodate a child with a disability.
  • We advised a membership charity on managing its relationship with volunteers who publicly challenged its equality and diversity policy.
  • We advised a fundraising team about accepting donations which are restricted towards benefiting people with particular protected characteristics.
  • We assisted a charity in responding to a threatened claim by a beneficiary that trustees had administered a scheme in a way that was discriminatory to disabled beneficiaries.
  • We advised a charity with a commercial trading subsidiary on when you can refuse to provide a service to a particular group.
  • We assisted an academy trust in responding to a challenge to the use of a particular sanction in relation to pupils with SEND.
  • We advised a group of schools on whether their status as the beneficiaries of a trust results in discrimination on account of race.
Meet our team
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