The Oldest Profession

Sex Laws Info

Equality Act 2010

 The Equality Act 2010, which received the Royal Assent on 8th April this year, is now operative and has the force of law. Its aim is to bring together and tighten up existing anti-discrimination laws most of which will already be well known.

Though much of the document appears to have been drafted from the viewpoint of large corporations and Government departments, (there are 300 pages purely on employment guidelines!) it does apply to all businesses both great and small. So, if you run a business, and/or offer services to the public, you are required by law to comply with it. Needless to say, there is no specific reference to “escorting” - nor is there any specific exemption for those offering “personal services”.

Although it may seem unlikely that a client may pursue a case for discrimination against an escort, it's not impossible – hence our notes here.

There is a general statement which advises on how to proceed:

“As a matter of good practice and good business, you should treat everyone accessing your goods, facilities or services fairly, regardless of their age, gender, race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, and guard against making assumptions about the characteristics of individuals”

Some speculative points for consideration:

  1. Profiles and advertisements which clearly discriminate are unlawful, could be reported and could give rise to litigation. So, those profiles which state: “I don't see Asian men” and “ I don't wish to see disabled clients” could run into trouble. “Double discrimination” is likely to be taken very seriously, thus (using the above examples) someone refusing to accept an disabled Asian client would fall into that category.
  2. Disability. It is unlawful to refuse a client because of their disability. The new Act introduces the concept of “discrimination arising from the disability”. Service providers of all descriptions will be expected to take “reasonable” steps to see that their services are available to the disabled. This could involve making some minor changes to fixtures and fittings in bathrooms, or widening a doorway. This is something of a grey area, however, and the physical constructs of some buildings, stairs, etc. will continue to present obstacles. More guidance from the Government is expected to follow.

    What is clear is that a service provider cannot lawfully refuse to accept a disabled client purely because they “don't like” dealing with disabled people. Incidentally, for those who state they don't wish to see "fat" clients, note that clinical obesity is considered a disability for the purposes of the Act. There is a three-year window envisaged for the resolution of the many “grey” areas that exist in several sectors, e.g at the present time not all taxis are suitable for disabled people to use.
  3. As escorts notionally sell their “time and company”, that, in theory, should be available to all, to comply with the spirit of the Act.

As with all new laws, some test cases will be required before we can fully assess the full impact.

Links and further reading:

From the Government's Equality Office website: This is the Statutory Instrument relating to the introduction of the new laws. Much cross-referencing to earlier legislation is required.