06 April 2022

New EHRC guide to the law in relation to single-sex spaces

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has issued a practical guide to the law in relation to single-sex spaces.  The guidance is aimed at helping service providers to make lawful decisions about any services they offer to women and men separately, by explaining the permitted sex and gender reassignment exceptions in the Equality Act 2010. It advises organisations such as hospitals, retailers, hospitality and sports clubs to put in place policies that are both legal and balance the needs of different groups. The guidance confirms that service providers wishing to limit services to a single sex are legally able to do so, provided the reasons are justified and proportionate.

Making the announcement, the EHRC stressed that their guidance does not address the wider debate on sex and gender identity but simply clarifies the law for service providers, as has been called for by various stakeholders, including the Women and Equalities Committee in Parliament.

Some of the guidance may be useful for employers in making decisions regarding how they deal with any single-sex spaces at work such as changing rooms or toilets.


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