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As an employer, it is important to understand the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, their powers and responsibilities, and what they do. Not only does the Commission play a key role in promoting improvements in equality and human rights in the UK, but they will also intervene and enforce the law in serious and systematic cases. 

What is the Equality and Human Rights Commission?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission describe themselves as “an independent statutory body with the responsibility to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, and protect and promote the human rights of everyone in Britain”.  

What does the Equality and Human Rights Commission do?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provide five core functions:

1. helping organisations to improve their approach to human rights and equality - This includes conducting inquiries to explore systemic issues, gather evidence and develop possible solutions

2. providing information to people and businesses on equality and human rights and responsibilities

3. influencing and advocating to change public policy and inform debates

4. evaluating how well the law is protecting people in terms of human rights and equality

5. taking enforcement action on behalf of people where there are serious and systemic abuses of their rights 


What does equal opportunities mean? 

‘Equal opportunities’ is about ensuring that all employees are treated fairly without discrimination and have the same opportunities for employment, pay, and promotion. This means that when determining who is best for a job, this decision should be made based on the candidate’s qualifications and skills.

What are the powers and responsibilities of the Equality and Human Rights Commission?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission have enforcement powers conferred by the Equality Act. These include ensuring equality laws are correctly enforced and progressing towards the eradication of discrimination and harassment.

These powers can be used to require employers, service providers, educational institutions, public bodies and housing providers to stop any discriminatory practices and make changes to mitigate against future discrimination or non-compliance. Where necessary, the Commission has the powers to carry out inquiries, investigations, issue unlawful act notices, enter into agreements, carry out assessments, and issue compliance notices.

Get legal assistance from LawBite

If your business is facing action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, speak to one of our specialist employment lawyers at LawBite.  Our team will review your case, the basis for any complaint, outline the options available, and manage the matter on your behalf, using alternative dispute resolution methods where possible.

Additional useful information

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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