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The University of Southampton

LAWS3137 Equality at Work

Module Overview

This module introduces you to four key themes of equality law in the employment context: (1) The principles and evolution of equality law; (2) The forms of discrimination; (3) The protected grounds (4) The challenges for enforcing equality law. You will acquire a good understanding of the relevant law. You will also develop a critical perspective of law in its wider social, economic, political and historical context, and you will be trained to successfully apply the law to factual situations. The module will be taught in a lively manner, promoting student engagement through problem-based learning, analysis of real-life situations and discussion of topical social and policy developments.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• to introduce you to a number of key principles, concepts and debates in the field of Equality Law, with a particular focus on equality law at work; • to encourage you to develop a critical understanding of the political, economic and social issues that have shaped the development of this area of law.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the nature, principles and functions of Equality Law and the main features of its sources and institutions;
  • primary sources of Equality Law and use them to develop your own critical opinion on key and controversial aspects of this area of law;
  • the different protected grounds and assess the differences between the levels of protection afforded for each of them;
  • the significance and influence of European Union Law and other international standards on UK equality law.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse the differences between different forms of discrimination and contribute to the underlying doctrinal and jurisprudential debates;
  • critically evaluate the challenges which arise in the practical application of Equality Law and appraise the enforcement tools which have been developed to address those challenges;
  • identify gaps and weaknesses in this area of law and contribute to the doctrinal and policy debate on how to address them, taking into account the wider legal, political, economic and social context.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • apply your knowledge to solve complex actual or hypothetical problems;
  • analyse, synthesise and draw your own conclusions from complex written texts;
  • formulate and communicate arguments and your own viewpoints effectively in writing demonstrating an awareness of academic integrity;
  • conduct independent study and self-directed research to produce clear, orderly and well-structured opinions regarding topical developments.


This module will introduce you to a number of key principles, concepts and debates in the field of Equality Law. While from a theoretical perspective these apply to Equality Law in general, to make it more manageable, the module focuses on equality law at work. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of the political, economic and social issues that have shaped the development of this area of law. The module is split into three inter-related sections: Section 1 introduces the module, the principles, sources and institutions of equality law and as well as its evolution and the scope of application of the legislation. Section 2 focuses on the analysis of the prohibited forms of discrimination and the protected grounds, including race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, disability and sex- related grounds. Section 3 deals with the challenges for enforcing equality law and the tools available to address those challenges, including the shift of the burden of proof and positive action. Several cross cutting themes will be considered throughout the module, such as the influence of European Union law and the European Convention of Human Rights, the problems associated with finding a comparator and the difference between formal and substantive equality.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • 1 x 2-hour seminar per week • 1 x 1-hour tutorial per fortnight Learning activities include: • Accessing resources • Individual study • Self-directed research • Group work • Problem solving • Essay writing • Blog writing In view of enhancing your interest and motivation, the teaching team will: • Make use of media and technology-supported learning and a range of other teaching techniques. • Refer to topical developments in employment law and related areas. • Invite guest-speakers - time and location constraints allowing. Clear guidelines will be provided to help you write an individual blog contribution and comment on others’ contributions.

Preparation for scheduled sessions40
Follow-up work10
Wider reading or practice20
Completion of assessment task10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Monaghan, K (2013). Monaghan on Equality Law. 

Equality and Diversity Forum.

EU Fundamental Right Agency (FRA) [excellent reports and surveys on equality issues].

Cabrelli, D (2016). Employment Law in Context; Text and Materials. 

European Commission, Special Eurobarometer 437. Discrimination in the EU in 2015.

Equal Opportunities Review.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Hepple, B (2014). Equality: The New Legal Framework. 

Wadham, J, et al (eds) (2012). Blackstone’s Guide to The Equality Act. 

Equality and Discrimination Law Expertise Blog.

Trade Union Congress (TUC), Equality Issues.

Fredman, S (2012). Discrimination Law. 

O'Dempsey, D (2013). Discrimination in Employment. A Claims Handbook. 

In particular, the TUC Equality Audit 2014.

Doyle, B, et al (2010). Equality and Discrimination: The New Law. 


Runnymede Trust.

European Working Conditions Survey 2010.

International Labour Organisation.

Sargeant, M (2013). Discrimination and the Law. 

Government Equalities Office.

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound).

Khaitan, T (2015). A Theory of Discrimination Law. 



Blog contribution


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (3500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (3500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (3500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Equality Law textbooks typically cost £30-40. However, mandatory/additional reading textbooks are available at the Hartley Library. Key journal articles not available at the Library will be made available on Blackboard.

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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