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Disability Q&As

Disability Discrimination - Q&A sheet


Someone has a disability if: They have a long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment or disfigurement which can have an adverse effect on whether a person is able to engage or participate in any activity covered by the Discrimination Law.

Long Term Impairment: Lasts for 6 months or more, or for rest of the individual's life

Direct Discrimination: Positive discrimination is permitted.A person who does not have a disability (or does not have the same disability) cannot argue that they have been treated less favourably than someone who does have a disability (or a different disability).

'Associated with' disability: Where a disabled person is treated less favourably because of something linked to their disability, but not because of the disability itself, and that treatment cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.  Example: an assistance dog in a restaurant, but not at a chef's table in the actual kitchen.

Reasonable adjustmentsto avoid substantial disadvantage:

Provisions, criterion and practices (e.g. absence policy, working hours)

Provision of an auxiliary aid or service (e.g. large print version, handset amplifier)

Physical features of premises - take steps to consider adjustments from 2020, not day 1.

Must be at no cost to the disabled person.

Could include:                                                  

Change to working hours

Allowing time off for appointments

Desk orientation

Larger screen

Coloured filters for dyslexia suffers

Adapted telephones

Ergonomic mouse/keyboards

'Quiet hour' which the Co-op has recently introduced

Better spacing between rails in clothing shops

What steps are reasonable?  A business does not have to make a raft of changes to future proof for all possible disabilities.  Detailed guidance will be provided to help businesses. There will not be a prescribed list of reasonable adjustments and properties will not be inspected or assessed for compliance.

Tribunal complaint: Should the matter come before the Tribunal, the following factors will be taken into consideration:

Whether the substantial disadvantage was reasonably foreseeable

Whether the steps would remove the disadvantage

 The costs and practicalities of such steps

The nature and size of the business

The financial and administrative resources available.


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