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The Equality Act covers exactly the same groups of individuals that were protected by the previous legislation. However, the headings of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity are now to be known as 'protected characteristics'. When you consider that the average discrimination award in 2012/13 went up to £16,000*, it pays to protect your business. We advise ALL businesses to get the right insurance and take advice before acting – call us on 0845 130 1722. Protected characteristics Each characteristic is addressed in the new Act in summary as