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Equality Act 2010

Communal accommodation: paragraph 3

Effect

997.This paragraph provides an exception to the general prohibition of sex and gender reassignment discrimination. It allows communal accommodation to be restricted to one sex only, as long as the accommodation is managed as fairly as possible for both men and women. It sets out factors which must be considered when restricting communal accommodation to one sex only, and provides that discriminatory treatment of transsexual people must be objectively justified.

998.Communal accommodation is defined as residential accommodation which includes shared sleeping accommodation which should only be used by members of one sex for privacy reasons.

999.Where such accommodation is refused in the field of work, or a benefit linked to such accommodation is refused, alternative arrangements must be made where reasonable so as to compensate the person concerned.

Background

1000.This paragraph replaces similar provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. The scope of the exception has been extended from employment, education and services to all fields.

Examples

  • A hostel only accepts male guests. It is not unlawful for it to refuse to accept female guests because the majority of the bedrooms are shared and there is only one communal bathroom.

  • At a worksite the only available sleeping accommodation is communal accommodation occupied by men. A woman employee who wishes to attend a training course at the worksite is refused permission because of the men-only accommodation. Her employer must make alternative arrangements to compensate her where reasonable, for example by arranging alternative accommodation or an alternative course.

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