Equality and Diversity Considerations
Personal Assistant (PA) employers need to treat their PAs fairly, without discrimination on the basis of a personal or ‘Protected Characteristic’, such as their gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity or martial status. Service providers are obliged to provide goods, services and facilities to their customers in a non-discriminatory way under the Equality Act 2010 and employers have an obligation not to discriminate before, during and after employment under the Equality Act 2010.
The Equality Act
The Equality Act 2010 came into effect to protect people from harassment, discrimination and victimisation. There are nine protected characteristics covered within the Equality Act 2010 which protects people from being discriminated against. The protected characteristics are:
- Gender reassignment
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Sexual orientation
This means that discrimination under any of these characteristics could result in a claim being made against the PA Employer. There is no minimum length of service required for workers to be able to bring a claim for unlawful discrimination. For the employer, a claim for discrimination can be made in respect of a job advert, during employment, or post employment, in terms of job references for ex-employees.
Therefore, as an employer, it is important to understand the importance of equality in the workplace before employing someone.
In some circumstances, it will be lawful to require that a person possesses a particular protected characteristic in order to do a particular kind of work – but certain conditions have to be satisfied first. Advice should always be taken.
When interviewing potential candidates, it is important to ensure the candidate is not asked any questions which could be seen as discrimination or which relate to their protected characteristics.
Take a look at the resources available below to guide you in more detail.