How the Equality and Human Rights Commission can help you

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Ross Mathers answers some FAQs on the role of the Commission

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10th September 2018 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

If you’re an adviser, advocacy worker, lawyer or anyone else who works with people who have been the victims of discrimination, the Equality and Human Rights Commission is there to help.

As a starting point for understanding discrimination, the Commission has recently launched a series of new ‘Discrimination Explained’ videos which can be found on the Commission’s website and its YouTube channel.

What is the Commission?

The Commission, which was set up in 2006, is Britain’s national equality body and operates independently from the Government. The Commission has offices in Glasgow, Cardiff, Manchester and London.

What does the Commission do?

It is the Commission’s job to make Britain fairer by safeguarding and enforcing the laws that protect people’s rights to fairness, dignity and respect. The Commission aims to eliminate unlawful discrimination, and to make human rights and freedoms a reality for everyone. It has the power to advise parliament, conduct research, hold inquiries, review and enforce the law, provide guidance, influence policy, challenge unfair laws and practices, and provide legal assistance to individuals who have been the victims of discrimination.

Ross Mathers

Ross Mathers

How does the law protect people from discrimination?

The Equality Act 2010 provides Britain with a legal framework which protects people from unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Everyone is protected by the Act if they are treated unfairly because of one or more of the nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

There are several different forms which discrimination can take including direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, discrimination arising from disability, failure to make reasonable adjustments, harassment and victimisation.

Each of the protected characteristics, and the various different forms of discrimination, are covered by the Commission’s new 'Discrimination Explained' videos.

How can the Commission help me?

The Commission’s website provides guidance and advice on a range of equality and human rights issues.

For advisers, advocacy and support workers, lawyers and other frontline staff the Commission provides high quality advice on equality and human rights issues through its EHRC Adviser Support service which is available Monday-Friday. Members of the public who may have experienced discrimination should contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service.

To sign up to the Scotland legal team’s eBulletin, which includes articles, news, developments in equality and human rights law, publications and details of upcoming events, you can do so by e-mailing your name to [email protected]

The Commission’s legal team are always interested in hearing from advisers, advocates and solicitors who have cases which involve potential discrimination. In some cases, where the Commission has a particular strategic interest, legal assistance and/or funding may be provided. The Scotland Legal team can be contacted here.

Ross Mathers is a senior associate at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.