The Equality Act 2010 in the United Kingdom is a comprehensive piece of legislation that provides protection against discrimination and promotes equality for various groups, including the elderly. While the Act does not specifically single out the elderly as a protected characteristic, it does contain provisions that are relevant and offer protection to older individuals.
1. Age Discrimination (Part 5, Chapter 2): The most direct way the Equality Act protects the elderly is by prohibiting age discrimination. The Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against individuals on the basis of their age. This means that older people are protected from unfair treatment or discrimination in various areas of life, including employment, education, and access to goods and services.
2. Employment (Part 5, Chapter 2): The Act includes provisions related to employment, ensuring that older workers are not subjected to age-related discrimination in the workplace. It covers areas such as recruitment, promotion, training, and retirement, promoting equal opportunities for individuals of all ages.
3. Services and Public Functions (Part 3): The Act prevents discrimination against older individuals when accessing goods, services, and public functions. This includes healthcare services, housing, transportation, and public facilities. Service providers must not discriminate against older customers or service users based on their age.
4. Public Sector Equality Duty (Section 149): Public authorities have a duty under the Act to consider the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations between different groups, including age groups. This means that public services and policies must take into account the needs of older individuals and work towards their inclusion and equality.
5. Positive Action (Part 11): The Equality Act allows for positive action measures, which can be taken to address disadvantages or underrepresentation faced by certain age groups, including the elderly. These measures aim to promote equality and prevent discrimination.
6. Harassment (Part 3, Chapter 2): The Act also covers harassment related to age, ensuring that older individuals are protected from unwanted behavior or treatment that creates a hostile or offensive environment based on their age.
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