Discrimination of the Disabled

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The Disability Discrimination Act helps protect the rights of disabled Americans from discrimination based on their physical or mental disabilities. The Disability Discrimination Act was put into place in 1995 and was updated in 2005. Copies of the Disability Discrimination Act are under the public information realm and can be viewed by any member of the public as they see fit. The Disability Discrimination Act gives disabled people rights in the education world, in employment, access to goods, facilities and services, including larger private clubs and services, buying or renting land or property, including making it easier for disabled people to rent property and for tenants to make disability-related adaptations and functions of public bodies.

If you feel you have been discriminated against or have questions about discrimination, contact a lawyer who can help.

The Disability Discrimination Act protects mentally and physically disabled people in the following ways:

  • Access to goods, premises and services: public places must make reasonable adjustments that include: 
    • installing an induction loop for people who are hearing impaired
    • giving the option to book tickets by email as well as by phone
    • providing disability awareness training for staff who have contact with the public
    • providing larger, well-defined signage for people with impaired vision
    • in a ramp at the entrance to a building as well as steps
  • Education:
    • local education authorities (LEAs)
    • schools
    • colleges
    • universities
    • providers of adult education
    • the statutory youth service
    • changes to practices or procedures
    • changes to physical features
    • providing extra support (such as specialist teachers or equipment)
  • Employment:
    • application forms
    • interview arrangements
    • proficiency tests
    • job offers
    • terms of employment
    • promotion, transfer or training opportunities
    • work-related benefits such as access to recreation or refreshment facilities
    • dismissal or redundancy
  • Motoring and Transports:
    • Buses and coaches
    • Taxis
    • Trains
    • Learning to drive
    • Insurance
  • A disability is defined by the Disability Discrimination Act as any physical or mental disability that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Disabilities that are not covered by the Disability Discrimination Act are addictions to drugs, alcohol, the tendency to start fires, the tendency to steal or the tendency to physically, mentally, or emotionally abuse others. The Act also protects Americans that have progressive conditions such as cancer, HIV, and multiple sclerosis. People are protected under the Act from the point of their diagnosis.

    Public and private places such as educational institutions, places of employment, restaurants, bars, shops, cafes, stadiums and other places are required, by law, to make adjustments regarding disabled students, employees, or customers. If adjustments aren’t made then the disabled party is legally allowed to file a complaint against the employer, their educational institution, or the public place they attend because adjustments aren’t made. For instance, if a school was built before these laws were put into place, they must update their building for the possibility of having a disabled student take classes there.

    The Act defines disability as:

    • substantial means neither minor nor trivial
    • long term means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions)
    • normal day-to-day activities include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping
    • a normal day-to-day activity must affect one of the 'capacities' listed in the Act which include mobility, manual dexterity, speech, hearing, seeing and memory
    If you feel you have been discriminated against or have questions about discrimination, contact a lawyer who can help.
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