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Equalities Act 2010 Discrimination in Work Relationships other than Employment

The Act does not cover just employer/employee relationships, contract workers are also protected against discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

  • Employment Service Providers, including recruitment agencies also have responsibilities under the Act; they must not discriminate against or victimise a person in relation to the provision of an employment service
  • In the arrangements that it makes for selecting people to whom it provides, or offers to provide, the services
  • In the terms on which it offers to provide the service to that person
  • By not offering to provide the service to that person

For example, a recruitment agency that only offers its services to people with European passports or identity cards could be guilty of indirect race discrimination as their policy would disadvantage those who have a right to live and work in the UK but do not carry a European passport.

  • There must also be no evidence of a recruitment agency discriminating against or victimising a person
  • As to the terms upon which it provides the service to that person
  • By not providing the service to that person
  • By terminating the provision of the services to that person
  • By subjecting that person to detriment
  • The legislation has also determined that it is unlawful for an end user to discriminate against or victimise a contract worker
  • In the terms on which the end user allows the contract worker to work
  • By not allowing the contract worker to do or continue to do the work
  • In the way the end user affords the contract worker access to benefits in relation to contract work or by failing to afford the contract worker access to such benefits
  • By subjecting the contract worker to any other detriment

End users and recruitment agencies must also ensure that contract workers are not harassed and have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers. To this end it is considered good working practise for employment businesses and end users to work together to ensure, between them, that all necessary adjustments are made.

Questions may be asked after a job offer has been made and the offer itself can be subject to satisfactory health checks but there can then be no discrimination by the employer based on the responses.

If you would like to speak to a member of the team about our Umbrella Company services, you can contact us on 01206 713 680 or email

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