Disability Discrimination Act 1995: what the law says
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 protects you against thediscrimination you may face as a disabled person.
The Act says it is discrimination if you are treated less favourably thansomeone else just because you have a disability, or for a reason that is to dowith your disability.
The law also says that employers, public authorities (such as your localcouncil or the police), private clubs, schools, colleges and service providersmust make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people who are disadvantaged bythe way things are done, or by existing rules or by the physical environment. Areasonable adjustment could be, for example:
- widening the entrance to a building so that people who use a wheelchair canget in;
- providing information in a different form for people with impaired vision(for example, in Braille or on tape); or
- changing a policy that says people must apply for a service in writing toallow someone who does not write to make a verbal application (over the phone,for example).
However, in certain situations, organisations may not have to makeadjustments. See ‘When discrimination is allowed’.
If you want to complain about being discriminated against (or if you arehelping a colleague who is complaining), you may fear that your employer maytreat you less favourably for doing so. If they do, this is calledvictimisation, and it is unlawful in the same way discrimination is.
The Act is linked to codes of practice. These set out the things thatemployers and organisations you deal with (like shops, banks and your localcouncil) should do to make life easier for you, such as changing the way theyprovide services (for example, a restaurant could provide large-print or Braillemenus). The codes are available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission(see ‘Further help’).
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