Seminar - Equality law, protected characteristics and socio-economic status

Dr Tom Hancocks presents a talk on issues surrounding the Equality Act (2010).

As part of our Spring-Summer 2019 research seminar scheduleDr Tom Hancocks will be presenting a talk on Equality law, protected characteristics and socio-economic status.


In the UK, the Equality Act (2010) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of nine ‘protected characteristics’: Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion and Belief, Sex and Sexual Orientation.

In this talk I will make the case that the current list of characteristics is problematically incomplete. I will argue that the current legislation is limited because it fails to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of socio-economic status

I begin by highlighting a number of cases of direct and indirect socio-economic discrimination – the case of Grenfell Tower, and discrimination from landlords against DSS tenants. I then look at a number of moral arguments for the characteristics in the existing list – based on dignity, political participation, desert and equality – and argue that these arguments apply equally (and in some cases more strongly) to the characteristic of socio-economic status. I conclude by responding to 2 objections – the floodgate argument, and the mutability argument.


The seminar takes place on Wednesday from 12pm - 1:15pm, in Seminar Room 2 within the IDEA Centre.

All are welcome and no registration is required.