The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was set up in 2007. It replaced the previous Commission for Racial Equality, Equal Opportunities Commission and Disability Rights Commission, which are now referred to as the ‘legacy commissions’. The EHRC has responsibility for all the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.
EHRC Guidance for workers
The Commission has written a series of guides to explain your rights under equality law. These guides support the Equality Act 2010 which brings together lots of different equality laws, many of which we have had for a long time. By doing this, the Act makes equality law simpler and easier to understand.
The EHRC has produced Codes of Practice on Employment, Services and Equal Pay. The main purpose of the Codes of Practice is to provide detailed explanations of the provisions in the Act and to apply legal concepts in the Act to everyday situations. This will assist courts and tribunals when interpreting the law and help lawyers, advisers, trades union representatives, human resources departments and others who need to apply the law. As with the Act, the Codes apply to England, Scotland and Wales.
The Codes set out clearly and precisely what the legislation means. They draw on precedent and case law and explain the implications of every clause in technical terms. These statutory codes are the authoritative source of advice for anyone who wants a rigorous analysis of the legislation’s detail. For lawyers, advocates and human resources experts in particular, they will be invaluable.
The Codes do not impose legal obligations in themselves and they are not an authoritative statement of the law. However, tribunals must take into account any relevant provision in the Codes.
The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) is an advice service aimed at individuals who need expert information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues and the applicable law, particularly when this is more than advice agencies and other local organisations can provide. The service is run by Sitel (a private sector organisation) working with Disability Rights UK and other partners. The EASS works collaboratively with other advice organisations from whom it receives referrals, and with the EHRC. It does this by referring on potential test cases and sharing information to inform the EHRC’s wider work on equality and human rights. Information is only passed on with the consent and knowledge of the individual concerned.
The EASS can:
Give bespoke advice to individuals across the whole of Great Britain on discrimination issues
Explain legal rights and remedies within discrimination legislation, across the three nations
Explain options for informal resolution and help people to pursue them
Refer people who cannot or do not wish to go down this road to conciliation or mediation services
Help people who need or want to seek a legal solution by helping to establish eligibility for legal aid and, if they are not eligible, to find an accessible legal service or to prepare and lodge a claim themselves
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