Equality law - Designers and manufacturers of goods

Advice and Guidance

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Equality law and your business

If your business is as a designer or manufacturer of goods then equality law does not cover your business operations as they relate to designing or making goods.

You do not have to make changes to your physical products, packaging or instructions.

You can also target the advertising or marketing of your products at a group with particular protected characteristics. You can read more about advertising and marketing.

Equality good practice: what you can do if you want to do more than equality law requires

Even though you do not have to, it can be good business sense to make goods, packaging and instructions more accessible to all potential and existing customers.

For example:

A manufacturer of bath and skincare products puts Braille labelling on its packaging and on the plastic bottles so blind customers who read Braille can tell products apart when using them. People for whom this makes a difference are more likely to buy these products.

For example:

A manufacturer of doorbells makes a system that incorporates a portable wireless receiver. The receiver can be carried round the home to wherever the person is at the time and it rings when the doorbell is pressed. The manufacturer decides to add a bulb to the receiver which lights up when the doorbell is pressed. This means that people with a hearing impairment will find it useful as well as anyone who is, for example, listening to music with headphones on.

Ways in which you might be considered a service provide

There are two ways you might be covered as a service provider:

  • If you provide information which is more than just an advertisement, you may need to supply this in alternative formats, if doing this would be a reasonable adjustment, which it is may be, depending on the circumstances. 
  • If you sell or give the goods you make directly to the public, then you will be covered by equality law as if you are a shop.

So, for example, if a company sells its products by mail order, over the internet or through a factory shop, then it will have duties under equality law as a service provider. 

Last updated: 19 Feb 2019

Further information

If you think you might have been treated unfairly and want further advice, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service.

Phone: 0808 800 0082

You can email using the contact form on the EASS website.

Also available through the website are BSL interpretation, web chat services and a contact us form.


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closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays

Alternatively, you can visit our advice and guidance page.