Sex Discrimination Act 1975
|Long title||An Act to render unlawful certain kinds of sex discrimination and discrimination on the ground of marriage, and establish a Commission with the function of working towards the elimination of such discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity between men and women generally; and for related purposes.|
|Citation||1975 c. 65|
|Territorial extent||England and Wales; Scotland, however not Northern Ireland|
|Royal assent||12 November 1975|
|Repealed by||Equality Act 2010|
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which protected men and women from discrimination on the grounds of sex or marital status. The Act concerned employment, training, education, harassment, the provision of goods and services, and the disposal of premises. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 and The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Amendment) Regulations 2008 amended parts of this Act to apply to transsexual people. Other amendments were introduced by the Sex Discrimination Act 1986, the Employment Act 1989, the Equality Act 2006, and other legislation such as rulings by the European Court of Justice.
The Act did not apply in Northern Ireland, however The Sex Discrimination Gender Reassignment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 does.
The Act was repealed in full by the Equality Act 2010.
The Equal Opportunities commission
The Act established the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) whose main duties were to work towards the elimination of discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity between sexes and to keep under review the workings of the Sex Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act 1970. The EOC helped individuals bring cases to Employment Tribunals and to the courts. The EOC is now subsumed into the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). ‘Sex Discrimination’, as it is referred to in employment law, was introduced in the 1970’s alongside equal pay legislation. Whilst in recent years we have seen an increase in gender pay gap reporting, it is important however to recognize that these are workplace-based and relate solely to comparing employees in the same, similar or equivalent roles in the workplace.
The EHRC was empowered to do the following:
- Bring proceedings in respect of certain provisions and seek a court injunction to restrain the repetition of an unlawful act
- Commence a claim before an employment tribunal on behalf of an individual.
- Give practical guidance and advice to persons who appear to have a complaint under the Acts.