Many of the provisions of the Act came into force on 1 October with further, perhaps more controversial, provisions to follow.

Whilst one of the primary purposes of the Act is to consolidate and harmonise the different strands of discrimination law, it also makes significant changes in the definition of disability discrimination, the concepts of discrimination on the grounds of association and perception and in equal pay, which has given rise to an increasing volume of claims over recent years. In particular, the Act prohibits the use of secrecy clauses in relation to pay and bonuses where they relate to relevant pay discussions. Further important changes concern pre-employment health questions and the extension of liability for third party acts of harassment to all of the protected characteristics rather than merely on the grounds of sex.