Equality Act 2010 Explanatory Notes

Section 212: General interpretation

659.This section explains what is meant by various words and phrases which appear in more than one Part of the Act.


660.While a key objective of the Act is to present discrimination law in plain language and most words used in the Act have an ordinarily obvious meaning, it is sometimes necessary to make clear the specific legal meaning of some words and phrases that are used several times in the Act.

661.Subsection (5), which expands the meaning of “detriment” in subsection (1), makes clear that although the express prohibition of sexual orientation harassment does not apply for example to schools, a pupil who is bullied by a school employee as a result of his or her sexual orientation may nevertheless bring a claim of direct discrimination if the bullying caused the pupil to suffer a “detriment”.

662.Other important words and phrases appear in only one Part or Chapter of the Act. Where necessary these are defined in the Part or Chapter where they appear. Others are not defined at all, either because they are clear, or because they are to be interpreted in accordance with the Interpretation Act 1978.

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