It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone on the grounds below:
- refusing or deliberately omitting to provide any service which you offer to or provide to members of the public, or a section of the public
- providing service of a lower (inferior) standard or quality
- providing service in a worse manner
- providing service on less favourable terms
Discrimination can take a number of forms such as indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
Service providers are covered regardless of size, and whether they are in the public, private or voluntary sector.
Discrimination is unlawful whether or not the service is paid-for or provided free of charge.
Examples of services and facilities covered by the law include:
- hotels, boarding houses or similar establishments
- access and use of public places (eg. parks)
- financial services, banking, insurance, grants, loans, credit
- facilities for education (eg. schools, colleges and universities)
- facilities for entertainment, recreation, or refreshment (eg. pubs, restaurants, sports facilities, libraries, theatres and cinemas)
- facilities for transport/travel (eg. railway/bus stations, airports)
- services of a profession or trade (eg. shops, law firms, health services, public utilities, employment agencies, housing associations, churches and advice agencies)
- local councils, government departments and agencies
All employees involved in providing services have responsibilities under the law. This includes senior management and front line staff whether full time or part time, permanent or temporary, self employed, an employee, contractor or agent.
This involves less favourable treatment of a service user or prospective service user because of their sex, including gender reassignment, pregnancy/maternity, disability, race, religious belief or political opinion, or sexual orientation.
Discrimination can take a number of forms
Yes, there are exceptions to the general principle of non-discrimination where people can be treated differently in certain circumstances. These are set out in legislation. However, service providers should always seek advice before making exceptions.
Read more about exceptions for service providers