How people who work for a service provider behave towards you in relation to your protected characteristics is very important. Often what staff do (or don’t do) will make a difference to whether they deliver services to you without unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation and whether they make reasonable adjustments for you if you are a disabled person.
This does not just apply to situations where people are dealing directly with you, but also to how they plan their services.
When someone is planning services, they might make a decision, apply a rule or work out a way of doing things which will affect how you access their services. If this has a worse impact on you and other people with a particular protected characteristic than on people who do not share that characteristic, then it will be indirect discrimination unless they are able to objectively justify the decision, rule or way of doing things.
Equality law does not say exactly how an organisation should tell staff how to behave to avoid unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation. But it is clear that an organisation that does not bother to do this risks being held legally responsible by a court for unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation carried out by its staff.
Equality good practice: what to look for
If equality matters to you, look out for organisations who tell you about their equality policy and the equality training they give their staff, or other ways they set standards for their staff to meet so that they do not discriminate against customers, clients, service users, members or guests.
The rest of this guide tells you more about the standards you can expect in particular situations or when dealing with a particular type of service provider.
You can read more about what to do if you believe you’ve been discriminated against here.
Last updated: 19 Feb 2019