A brief guide to the Disability Discrimination Act by guy21

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									A brief guide to the Disability Discrimination Act

DL40
From November 1995


For more copies of this leaflet telephone 0345 622 633 (textphone 0345 622 644) or write to:

Disability on the Agenda
FREEPOST
Bristol
BS38 7DE

This leaflet is also available in braille, audio cassette, signed and subtitled video, and in a version
for people with learning disabilities.

If you would like to receive more detailed information when it becomes available, please ring the
telephone/textphone number or write to the Freepost address above.

This leaflet gives general guidance only and should not be treated as a complete and authoritative
statement of the law.

                                                  Issued on behalf of the Minister for Disabled People.
Introduction

The provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act will come into force over the next few years.
This leaflet gives a brief outline of:

1.   What the Act does
2.   Who is affected by the Act
3.   The new rights for disabled people
4.   Other measures in the Act
5.   When the new measures begin
1. What the Act does

The Disability Discrimination Act brings in new laws and measures aimed at ending the
discrimination which many disabled people face. The Act gives disabled people new rights in the
areas of:

 employment;
 getting goods and services;
 buying or renting land or property.

The Act requires schools, colleges and universities to provide information for disabled people.

The Act also allows the Government to set minimum standards so that disabled people can use
public transport more easily.

In addition, the Act sets up the National Disability Council and the Northern Ireland Disability
Council to advise the Government on discrimination against disabled people.
2. Who is affected by the Act

Many people with and without disabilities will be affected by the Act.

2.1 Disabled people

The Act gives new rights to people who have or have had a disability which makes it difficult for
them to carry out normal day to day activities. The disability could be physical, sensory, or mental.
It must also be substantial and have a long-term effect (that means the disability must last or be
expected to last for 12 months). Conditions which have a slight effect on day to day activities, but
are expected to become substantial are covered. Severe disfigurement is also classified as a
disability.

2.2 Employers and service providers

Employers and people who provide goods and services to the public will have to take reasonable
measures to make sure that they are not discriminating against disabled people. Some people will
have to take measures both as a employer and as someone who provides goods and services to the
public.

2.3 Landlords and others who are responsible for letting or selling property

People who sell or let property will have to ensure that they do not unreasonably discriminate
against disabled people.
3. The new rights for disabled people

3.1 Employment

What employers will have to do

It will be against the law for an employer to treat a disabled person less favourably than someone
else because of their disability, unless there is good reason. This applies to all employment matters
(including recruitment, training, promotion and dismissal).

In order to help a disabled person to do the job, employers will have to look at what changes they
could make to the workplace or to the way the work is done, and make any changes which are
reasonable. Employers will be able to take into account how much the changes would cost and how
much they would help, when considering what is reasonable.

In the same way, it will be against the law for trade associations, trade unions and professional
bodies to treat a disabled person less favourably than someone else.

Employers will still be able to recruit or promote the best person for the job.

Employers will not be expected to make any changes which would break health or safety laws.

Employers who are exempt

The employment part of the Act does not apply to employers who employ fewer than 20 people.
However, they will be encouraged to follow good practice guidelines.

It also does not apply to operational staff employed in the armed forces, the police, the prison
services, the fire services, or to anyone employed on board ships, hovercrafts or aeroplanes.

Complaints

Disabled people who feel they have been discriminated against can take their case to an industrial
tribunal. Where a complaint is made to a tribunal ACAS (the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration
Service), or in Northern Ireland the LRA (Labour Relations Agency), will make available the
services of a conciliation officer who will attempt to help the parties settle the complaint without
the need for a tribunal hearing. ACAS, or in Northern Ireland the LRA, can also assist in this way
without a formal application to a tribunal being made.

Changes to current employment rules

Registration as disabled and the Quota Scheme will end around the end of 1996.

This will mean that when the employment rights begin:

 disabled people will no longer need to register
 employers will no longer be required to employ a quota of registered disabled people.

The National Advisory Council on Employment of People with Disabilities
The National Council on Employment of People with Disabilities (NACEPD) will advise the
Government on those parts of the Act which cover employment, and on employment issues in
general.

3.2 Goods, facilities, services and property

The Act will affect anyone who provides goods, facilities or services to members of the public
whether paid for or free. This could range from buying bread in a supermarket, using the facilities
in a launderette, or borrowing a book from a public library. Private clubs are not included.

Providing the same standard of service to everyoneIt will be against the law to refuse to serve
someone who is disabled, because of a reason relating to their disability.

For example, it will be against the law for a supermarket owner to refuse to serve someone whose
disability means that they shop more slowly.

It will be against the law to offer a disabled person a service which is not as good as the service
being offered to other people.

For example, it will be against the law for a restaurant owner to insist that a person with a facial
disfigurement sits out of sight of the other customers.

It will be against the law to provide a service to a disabled person on terms which are different from
the terms given to other people.

For example, it will be against the law to ask a disabled person for a bigger deposit when they are
booking a holiday.

Exceptions

If, the health and safety of the disabled person or other people would be in danger, it would not be
against the law to refuse to provide the service to a disabled person or to provide it on different
terms. Other exceptions would arise if:

 the customer was not capable of understanding the terms of a contract;
 providing the service or the same standard of service would deny other customers.

Making changes to the way goods, facilities and services are provided

It will be against the law for someone to run a service, or provide goods or facilities, in a way which
makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to use the service or goods.

For example, a restaurant which does not allow animals will not be able to refuse admission to a
disabled person with a guide dog.

It will not be against the law, however, if the way the service is run is fundamental to the business.
For example, dim lighting could be considered essential to a nightclub even though it causes
difficulties for someone with poor eyesight.

People will have to provide equipment or other helpful items which make it easier for disabled
people to use their service, if it is reasonable to do so.

For example, an induction loop might make it easier for people who use hearing aids, or a hand rail
for people who find walking up stairs difficult.

People will have to remove physical obstructions (for example, widening entrance doors) or provide
other ways of letting disabled people use their services, if it is reasonable to do so.

For example, if a library’s reference section is on the first floor and there is no lift, library staff
could offer to bring the reference books to the disabled person.

Service providers will not be able to charge a disabled person more to meet the cost of making it
easier for them to use their service.

Selling or letting land or property

It will be against the law for anyone who sells or lets land or property (and their agents) to
unreasonably discriminate against disabled people.

For example, a landlord could not charge a disabled person a higher rent than he would charge
anyone else.

A landlord who rents six or fewer rooms in his own home would not be affected.

People selling or renting property do not have to make adjustments to make it accessible.

Complaints

If a disabled person feels they have been wrongly excluded from the provision of goods or services,
or the selling or letting of land or property, they will be able to go to court to seek damages for any
financial loss they have suffered and for injury to their feelings. There will be an upper limit on the
amount of damages that can be paid for injuries to feelings.

The National Disability Council and The Northern Ireland Disability Council

The National Disability Council and the Northern Ireland Disability Council will be independent
bodies which will advise the Government on ending discrimination against disabled people; on how
well the Act is working; and on whether any changes need to be made. They will also give advice
on how to put the new rights about goods and services into place by preparing codes of practice.
They will publish an annual report.
4. Other measures in the Act

4.1 Transport

The Government will be able to set minimum standards for new public transport vehicles (taxis,
buses, coaches, trains and trams) so that disabled people, including people who use a wheelchair,
can use them.

For example, disabled people who use wheelchairs will eventually be able to hire taxis in the street
or at a taxi rank like everyone else.

4.2 Education

The Act ensures recognition of the needs of disabled people wishing to study and the provision of
better information for parents, pupils and students.

Schools will have to explain their arrangements for the admission of disabled pupils, how they will
help these pupils gain access and what they will do to ensure they are treated fairly.

Further and higher education institutions funded by the Further and Higher Education Funding
Councils will have to publish disability statements containing information about facilities for
disabled people.

Local Education Authorities will have to provide information on their further education facilities
for disabled people.
5. When the new measures begin

The measures in the Act will be introduced over a number of years. The Government will consult
on a number of areas of the Act first.

Consultation

Before any of the measures are introduced there will be a period where the Government will seek
the views of people affected by the Act.

Consultation has begun within the transport industry and users on implementing the new standards.
The regulations will be introduced over a period of time. Views will also be sought on:

   how the employment provisions are likely to work in practice (December 95-March 96);
   matters relating to the definition of disability (December 95-March 96);
   educational measures (January-March 96);
   goods and services - the right to be served (March-May 96);
   access to land and property (March-May 96);
   the timing of the introduction of the remaining goods, facilities and services provisions (March-
     May 96).

Implementation

February/March 1996

 The National Disability Council and The Northern Ireland Disability Council will be set up.

Around the end of 1996

 It will be against the law for an employer to treat a disabled person less favourably, without
   good reason, because of their disability.

 It will be against the law to refuse to serve someone who is disabled, because of a reason
   relating to their disability.

1997 onwards (subject to consultation)

 It will be against the law for someone to run a service, or provide goods or facilities, in a way
   which makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to use the service or
   goods.

 People will have to provide equipment or other helpful items to make it easier for disabled
   people to use their service.

 People will have to remove physical obstructions or provide other ways of letting disabled
   people use their services.

								
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