Equality Act: guidance for charities

This guidance explains the rule in the Equality Act 2010 that allows a charity to discriminate by limiting the group of people it helps.

Applies to England and Wales



The Equality Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone because of a protected characteristic in a wide range of areas, including employment and the provision of services. There are some exceptions to this, one of which is the charities’ exception. This guidance explains:

  • what the Equality Act protects
  • how the charities’ exception works in practice
  • what charities must do to comply with the Act
  • other exceptions from the Act’s prohibitions on discrimination which may be relevant to charities
Published 22 February 2013