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18 Rights for Disabled People

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1. Introduction

2. When discrimination can happen

3. What the law says

4. What counts as a disability

5. When discrimination is allowed

In a few cases, an organisation would not be breaking the law by treating disabled people less favourably. This is if:

  • your safety or that of other people would otherwise be put at risk;
  • it would not otherwise be possible to provide the service, either to you or to anyone else. For example, it may be lawful for a tour guide to refuse to allow a person with severely impaired mobility on a tour of old city walls because they believe that the extra help they would have to give would prevent the party from completing the tour. However, it would not be lawful to treat a disabled person less favourably just to avoid inconveniencing other customers. For example, it would probably be unlawful to ask a disabled customer to go to the back of a queue to avoid delaying other customers; or
  • you are incapable of entering into a legally enforceable contract or giving informed consent because you are not able to understand the transaction. For example, it may be lawful for a company to refuse to lease you a piece of equipment if you have a mental impairment that means you do not fully understand the contract. But the organisation cannot treat you less favourably if someone can enter the contract on your behalf, for example someone with a power of attorney.

Also, an employer would not be breaking the law if they could show that they had a good reason for treating you less favourably for a reason related to your disability.

6. Discrimination at work

7. Discrimination when buying and using goods and services

8. Discrimination by public authorities

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

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