The main provisions of the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”) came into force on 1st October 2010.
The Government Equalities Office describes the Act as a “new cross-cutting legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all; to update, simplify and strengthen the previous legislation; and to deliver a simple, modern and accessible framework of discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society”.
Essentially, the Act consolidates various previous provisions relating to sex discrimination, race discrimination, age discrimination, disability discrimination and other discriminatory practices into one place.
One of the key parts of the Act for pension schemes is the prohibition on age discrimination. However, the same exemptions as applied under the previous legislation (which came into force on 1st December 2006) have been replicated in the Act and the law in this area therefore effectively stays the same.