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18 Rights for Disabled People

pdf icon Download Rights for Disabled People (PDF File, 1.02Mb)

1. Introduction

2. When discrimination can happen

3. What the law says

4. What counts as a disability

5. When discrimination is allowed

6. Discrimination at work

7. Discrimination when buying and using goods and services

8. Discrimination by public authorities

A public authority is an organisation ‘whose functions are functions of a public body’. This includes, for example:

  • government departments;
  • the Home Office;
  • the Prison Service;
  • local councils;
  • NHS boards and trusts;
  • the police;
  • the Crown Prosecution Service; and
  • the BBC.

Some tasks and certain organisations are not covered by this part of the Disability Discrimination Act. However, these exceptions are complicated. If you believe a public authority has discriminated against you, you will need expert advice, for example from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, about whether you would have a claim against it.

Public authorities are allowed to treat you less favourably for the reasons explained in ‘When discrimination is allowed’. They are also allowed to treat you less favourably for a reason relating to your disability if the treatment is truly necessary to:

  • achieve a reasonable aim; or
  • protect the ‘rights and freedoms’ of other people.

Public authorities may have to provide extra aids or services if the way they carry out their function means it is impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to benefit from their services. Whether a public authority must take a particular step depends upon several things, including:

  • how much it would cost;
  • how practical it would be; and
  • how disruptive it would be.

A public authority doesn’t have to take steps that:

  • it doesn’t have the power to take; or
  • would mean it would break another law or regulation.

Public authorities now also have a Disability Equality Duty, which is meant to promote equal opportunities for disabled people who work or want to work for them.

For further information on all these areas, see the code of practice available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (see ‘Further help’).

9. Discrimination by private clubs and associations

10. Discrimination when buying or renting a property

11. Discrimination at school or college

12. What you can do about discrimination

13. Going to an employment tribunal (ET)

14. Going to court

15. Going to a special educational needs and disability tribunal (Sendist)

16. The Human Rights Act

17. Further help

18. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Andrew Short, a barrister at Outer Temple Chambers and specialist in discrimination law.

Leaflet Version: August 2008