Enforcing the Equality Act: the law and the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Contents



1 Introduction

Our inquiry

The Equality Acts 2006 and 2010

The Equality and Human Rights Commission


2 The limitations of an individual approach to enforcement

The difficulties facing individuals in enforcing their rights

The limitations of individual enforcement

3 The enforcement role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission

The big bad wolf?

The Commission’s role in the new enforcement approach

Developing enforcement action: A critical mass

The use of the EHRC’s ‘unique’ enforcement powers

‘Shouting’ about enforcement work

Why has the Commission not acted more robustly?

Access to intelligence

Cumbersome procedures


Resourcing for ‘risky’ strategic litigation

Is the Equality and Human Rights Commission fit for purpose?

4 Mainstream enforcement bodies

The role of enforcement bodies

Compliance with existing duties

Need for an explicit duty?

Proposals for a new single labour market enforcement body

The future role of the EHRC

5 Enforcing the Equality Act at the heart of Government policy

6 The need for proactive and preventative duties and obligations

Existing and proposed duties

The public sector equality duty

Duties in the private sector: sexual harassment

7 Balancing rights in single-sex services

What is a single-sex service?

What the Equality Act defines as single-sex

Commissioning and procurement of single-sex and specialist services

The ability of service providers to use the exceptions

What was leading people to be concerned?

The exceptions in services supporting victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence

Bringing clarity

8 Individual action in Courts and Tribunals

Costs of litigation

Legal Aid for discrimination claims

Risk of becoming liable for the other parties’ costs

Costs orders and settlements

Achieving wider impact through individual litigation


Remedies as preventative actions

Conclusions and recommendations

Formal minutes


Published written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

Published: 30 July 2019