DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION AND THE EQUALITY ACT 2010
The Equality Act
From the 1st October 2010, the Equality Act replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). However, the Disability Equality Duty in the DDA continues to apply. The purpose of the Equality Act 2010 is to protect disabled people and prevent disability discrimination. It provides important legal rights for disabled people not to be treated less favourably because of their disability:
in accessing everyday goods and services – shops, cafes, banks, cinemas, places of worship
in access to health and social services
in relation to the use of transport services
in buying or renting land or property
in accessing or becoming a member of a larger private club (25 or more members)
in accessing the functions of public bodies
The Equality Act imposes a duty to service providers, public bodies and employers to make reasonable adjustments to ensure their services and/or premises are accessible by disabled people.
What is the definition of “disabled”?
Under the Equality Act a person is disabled if:
He/she has a physical or mental impairment
the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities
For the purposes of the Act, these words have the following meanings:
‘substantial’ means more than minor or trivial
‘long-term’ means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months
‘normal day-to-day activities’ include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping etc
If you have had a disability in the past that meets this definition you will also be protected by the Act.”]
In most circumstances reasonable adjustments must be made to ensure that a service or employment situation is accessible to those with a disability.
The duty to make reasonable adjustments refers to adjustments to services and practices as well as physical adjustments. This is an anticipatory duty, i.e. service providers should make adjustments now, rather than waiting until someone with a particular disability tries to use the service. It is also a continuing duty so an adjustment which appears reasonable at one time may be inadequate a couple of years later.
What can I do if I think I have been discriminated against?
If you think that you have been discriminated against because of your disability please contact us on 0191 213 1010 to discuss the matter further. We will assess whether there has been discrimination under the Equality Act and advise you on the best course of action to take.