Only Relatively Equal? Differences and hierarchies in the Equality Act 2010 – diversity in the legal profession

Elisabeth Griffiths, Steven Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Abstract

The aim of the Equality Act 2010 (‘the Act’) is principally equal treatment. The Act brings all ‘protected characteristics’ together into one piece of legislation, all separate ‘silos’ but in theory equal before the law, no one more important than the other. However in recent years as the number of protected characteristics has increased, tensions have emerged within the case law. Some protected characteristics may have an impact on one’s ability to do a particular job at particular times, such as disability, and are subject to special rules. Others, such as sexual orientation, sex, race and religion, should have no impact and ought therefore to be ignored by an employer. As demonstrated by religious discrimination cases and disability discrimination cases , the Act can lead to tensions and a possible ‘emerging hierarchy’. This paper seeks to explore the equal treatment principle and the protection offered by the Act and suggests that a developing hierarchy is inevitable given the way the law is framed. The intention of this research is in part to explore these hierarchies but also to consider how these tensions can lead to perceptions of in-equality within protected groups which can impact on they way individuals access work and are subsequently supported in employment. The aim, in the first instance, is to explore these ideas using data gleaned from an analysis of law firm employee networks to explore issues of diversity within the legal profession.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2016
EventLERN Workshop: How do we research and teach equality and diversity in legal education settings? - Sheffield, UK
Duration: 16 Sep 2016 → …

Conference

ConferenceLERN Workshop: How do we research and teach equality and diversity in legal education settings?
Period16/09/16 → …

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