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What Does The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 Do

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Protection From Discrimination In Education

What did the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) ever do for us?

Part IV of the Act makes it illegal to discriminate against disabled people in education. This includes early years, primary and secondary schooling, colleges, universities and life-long learning. It covers all aspects of the education process, from the dinner queue to the curriculum. Part IV came into force only in September 2002 and there is limited case law related to it. Its provisions are being phased in from 2002 to 2005.

In line with Part IV of the Act, psychiatrists should endeavour to provide information to service users on their rights to be free of discrimination in schools and colleges. They might also introduce awareness of the Act in multi-disciplinary working. A child and adolescent psychiatrist, for example, might work with colleagues to find creative ways to enable children with mental health problems to gain access to education. The Disability Discrimination Act complements existing special needs law. Interventions might include support and training for teachers in dealing with children with emotional and behavioural problems, to ensure that they are not treated less favourably.

Psychiatrists can also influence education within their own profession. For example, are the policies of medical schools free of discrimination? Do they make reasonable adjustments to enable students experiencing mental health difficulties to complete their studies?

What Must Service Providers Put In Place

Section 26 of the Act says public bodies that provide a service must:

  • ensure access for people with disabilities “where practical and appropriate”

  • help people with disabilities, if requested, “where practical and appropriate”

  • make sure someone with the right skills is available to advise the body about accessibility for people with disabilities, “where appropriate”

put at least one staff member in charge of providing assistance and guidance to people with disabilities who access its services. This person is called an Access Officer.

Section 27 of the Act says that services provided to a public body must be accessible to people with disabilities.

The Act says that the previous points shall not apply if providing access for people with disabilities

  • isnt practical

  • isnt justified due to cost

  • would create a long delay in making the goods or services available to other people

  • Access to information

    This section of the Act says that, as far as practicable, the contents of the communication are communicated in a form that is accessible to the person concerned.

    Which Is An Example Of The Disability Discrimination Act

    This Act applies in relation to a person who has an associate with a disability in the same way as it applies in relation to a person with the disability. Example: It is unlawful, under section 15, for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the ground of a disability of any of the employees associates.

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    What Is The Law About Access To Public Buildings

    Public bodies must ensure that public buildings are accessible “as far as practicable” to persons with disabilities according to section 25 of the Disability Act. A “public building” is a building, or part of a building, that is occupied, managed or controlled by a public body and is open to members of the public.

    Code of practice

    When public buildings are being built, altered or extended, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform can ask the National Disability Authority to prepare and send in a draft code of practice about access to public buildings. This also applies when there is a cost-effective option that will make the building accessible to more people.

    If the Minister approves the NDAs code of practice, public bodies must follow it “…to such an extent as is practical having regard to its resources and obligations”.

    Building Regulations Act

    Public buildings, facilities and their surroundings must be made as accessible as possible for all members of the public. This includes parking and setting down areas, lobbies, stairwells, door widths and accessible toilet facilities. This requirement is outlined in part M of the Building Regulations Act, and public buildings must abide by any amendment made to part M within 10 years of that amendment. Information about the most recent amendments are available here .

    When do these regulations not apply?

    Access to services

    What Disability Discrimination Law Does


    Disability discrimination legislation aims to end discrimination against people with disabilities in a range of circumstances, including in employment, education and the provision of goods and services.

    For instance, if a student with a personality disorder was refused entry to college because their disability may make them disruptive, this could be unlawful disability discrimination, unless it can be justified. To read more information about everyday circumstances when the law applies, go to:

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    Protection From Discrimination In The Provision Of Goods Services And Facilities

    Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act concerns protection from discrimination in the provision of goods, services and facilities.

    The Act makes it illegal for providers of any services from banking to ballet to treat someone less favourably for a reason related to disability, unless this is justified under the provisions of the Act. Less-favourable treatment might, for example, be justified if it is necessary in order not to endanger the health and safety of anyone, or if the person lacks capacity to enter into an agreement about the service to be provided.

    The Act also makes it illegal not to make reasonable adjustments to enable a disabled person to use services, again unless this is justified. Public, private and voluntary-sector service providers of all sizes are covered, including general practitioner surgeries, NHS trusts and local authorities. Thus, someone with schizophrenia given a lower quality of physical health care than other patients could bring a challenge under the Act, as could someone asked to leave a shop or not given time to explain financial needs at a bank.

    From 2004, stronger requirements will apply in terms of making physical adjustments to premises and facilities. For example, NHS facilities will have to take reasonable steps to ensure access to wheelchair users.

    What Is The Meaning Of Disability Discrimination

    Disability discrimination is when a person with a disability is treated less favourably than a person without the disability in the same or similar circumstances.

    Then, what is an example of disability discrimination?

    Disabled people can experience discrimination if the employer or organisation doesn’t make a reasonable adjustment. This is known as a ‘failure to make reasonable adjustments’. For example: an employee with mobility impairment needs a parking space close to the office.

    Beside above, how does disability discrimination affect a person? The higher levels of discrimination experienced by people with disabilities are likely to have wide ranging effects on their social and economic circumstances leading to poorer living conditions.

    In this way, what are three examples of disability discrimination?

    Some examples of disability discrimination may include: Discriminating on the basis of physical or mental disability in various aspects of employment, including: recruitment, firing, hiring, training, job assignments, promotions, pay, benefits, lay off, leave and all other employment-related activities.

    How do you overcome disability discrimination?

    Take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent staff from behaving in a discriminatory way, including providing training in disability issues and communicating the organisation’s equality policies and procedures.

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    Disability Discrimination Act 1995

    Long title An Act to make it unlawful to discriminate against disabled persons in connection with employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services or the disposal or management of premises to make provision about the employment of disabled persons and to establish a National Disability Council
    1 October 2010 .
    Other legislation

    The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which has now been repealed and replaced by the Equality Act 2010, except in Northern Ireland where the Act still applies. Formerly, it made it unlawful to discriminate against people in respect of their disabilities in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, education and transport.

    The DDA is a civil rights law. Other countries use constitutional, social rights or criminal law to make similar provisions. The Equality and Human Rights Commission combats discrimination. Equivalent legislation exists in Northern Ireland, which is enforced by the Northern Ireland Equality Commission.

    The Role Of Public Authorities

    Disability Discrimination Act

    The Disability Discrimination Act 20052 amends the original Act1 by placing further duties on public authorities. When carrying out their functions, public authorities must respect the need to:2

    • eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under this Act
    • eliminate harassment of disabled persons that is related to their disabilities
    • promote equality of opportunity between disabled persons and other persons
    • take steps to take account of disabled persons disabilities, even where that involves treating disabled persons more favourably than other persons
    • promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons
    • encourage participation by disabled persons in public life.

    The term public authority includes any person whose function is of a public nature, which would include the NHS and contractors providing services for the NHS, including GPs and primary healthcare professionals, but excludes:2

    • both Houses of Parliament
    • a person exercising functions in connection with proceedings in Parliament
    • the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service, and the Government Communications Headquarters
    • a unit, or part of a unit, or parts of the armed forces
    • the Scottish Parliament
    • a person, other than the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, exercising functions in connection with proceedings in the Scottish Parliament.

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    Circumstances When Being Treated Differently Due To Disability Is Lawful

    Non-disabled people

    It is always lawful to treat a disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person.

    Other disabled people

    Treating a disabled person with a particular disability more favourably than other disabled people may be lawful in some circumstances. For example:

    • where having a particular disability is essential for the job . For example, an organisation supporting deaf people might require that an employee whose role is providing counselling to British Sign Language users is a deaf BSL user
    • where an organisation is taking positive action to encourage or develop people with a particular disability. For example, an employer is aware that people with learning disabilities have a particularly high rate of unemployment, so sets up a mentoring and job-shadowing programme for people with learning disabilities to help them prepare to apply for jobs

    Occupational requirement and positive action are clarified in our statutory code of practice on employment.

    Disability Discrimination Act: 1995 And Now

    The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 was the first UK legislation protecting disabled people against various forms of discrimination. Years of campaigning and protests led up to the passing of the act, including incidents of civil disobedience. This article tells the story of the act and looks at what came next for disability rights.

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    Rights And Government Policies

    The disability rights movement aims to secure equal opportunities and equal rights for disabled people. The specific goals and demands of the movement are accessibility and safety in transportation, architecture, and the physical environment equal opportunities in independent living, employment, education, and housing and freedom from abuse, neglect, and violations of patients’ rights. Effective civil rights legislation is sought to secure these opportunities and rights.

    The early disability rights movement was dominated by the medical model of disability, where emphasis was placed on curing or treating disabled people so that they would adhere to the social norm, but starting in the 1960s, rights groups began shifting to the social model of disability, where disability is interpreted as an issue of discrimination, thereby paving the way for rights groups to achieve equality through legal means.

    Advocacy for disability issues and accessibility in the republics of the former Soviet Union has become more organized and influential in policymaking.

    Obligations Under The Law


    Disability discrimination in education is unlawful. Schools must not treat disabled pupils less favourably than others. They must make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled pupils are not at a substantial disadvantage, and they must prepare school accessibility plans to show how they will increase access to education for disabled pupils over time. Section 28A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as amended by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 states:

    It is unlawful for the body responsible for a school to discriminate against a disabled person

    in the arrangements it makes for determining admission to the school as a pupil in the terms on which it offers to admit him to the school as a pupil or by refusing or deliberately omitting to accept an application for his admission to the school as a pupil.

    It is unlawful for the body responsible for a school to discriminate against a disabled pupil in the education or associated services provided for, or offered to, pupils at the school by that body….

    It is unlawful for the body responsible for a school to discriminate against a disabled pupil by excluding him from the school, whether permanently or temporarily….

    Section 28C of the Act, as amended by the Equality Act 2006, states:

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    Disability Standards For Education 2005

    The Disability Standards for Education 2005 clarify the obligations of education and training providers, and seek to ensure that students with disability can access and participate in education on the same basis as students without disability.

    The Disability Standards for Education 2005 were developed under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and came into effect in August 2005.

    In 2020, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment undertook the third review of the Standards on behalf of the Minister for Education. For more information, see the 2020 Review page.

    Here you will find the Reviews final report, as well as a short summary document that outlines how the Review was undertaken, what the Review found and what it recommends. This summary document is available in Auslan, Easy Read, and 11 community languages.

    The Australian Government will work closely with state and territory governments and education authorities to implement recommendations. Changes will be made with help and advice from people with disability and educators. This will include and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. The Government will keep the community up to date about progress on these changes.

    What Did The Act Do

    The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defined disability as physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a persons ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

    The act provided protection against discrimination in several areas, including:

    • employment and occupation
    • the provision of goods and
    • the exercise of public functions.

    The act was the first of its kind to protect disabled people from multiple kinds of discrimination. These included:

    • direct discrimination: where a disabled person is treated less favourably than another person due to their disability
    • failure to make a reasonable adjustment: where any workplace practice or feature of the premises puts a disabled worker at a disadvantage and
    • victimisation: where a person is treated unfavourably because they made a complaint about their treatment as a disabled person.

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    What Does The Disability Discrimination Act Do

    If you have a disability, the Act protects you against discrimination in many areas of public life, including:

    • employment getting a job, terms and conditions of a job, training, promotion, being dismissed
    • education enrolling or studying in a course at a private or public school, college or university
    • accommodation renting or buying a house or unit
    • getting or using services such as banking and insurance services, services provided by government departments, transport or telecommunication services, professional services like those provided by lawyers, doctors or tradespeople, services provided by restaurants, shops or entertainment venues
    • accessing public places such as parks, government offices, restaurants, hotels or shopping centres.

    The Act also protects you if you are harassed, because of your disability, in employment, education or in getting or using services.

    The Disability Rights Movement And Mental Health Issues

    Breaking down barriers thanks to the Disability Discrimination Act #YourStoryOurHistory

    The Disability Discrimination Act was passed in 1995, following concerted campaigning by the British disability movement over several decades. This campaign included documentation of the extent of discrimination faced by disabled people across different life domains , as well as parliamentary lobbying and street-level activism . The social model of disability was developed , which located the problems faced by disabled people not in their impairments themselves, but in the disabling effects of barriers in the social, economic and physical environment. Barriers to employment formed an important part of this picture.

    Although the disability movement was led primarily by people with physical and sensory impairments, the Disability Discrimination Act explicitly covers people with mental impairments, thus extending it to include many with mental health problems as well as learning disabilities. The disability rights paradigm has been effectively used, in Britain and internationally, to challenge discrimination on mental health grounds . In Britain, 23% of all employment cases brought under the Disability Discrimination Act by 2002 related to people facing discrimination on grounds of their psychiatric status. Despite some weaknesses in the law, in a number of high-profile cases individuals have secured redress.

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    Why Is The Disability Act Important

    The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

    Disability Discrimination Act: What Does It Mean For Primary Care

    Dr Gerard Panting discusses the impact of current legislation on recruitment and working conditions and its relevance for the NHS and employers in primary care

    The Disability Discrimination Act is relevant to NHS GPs and their practice managers in a number of ways. With effect from 1st October 2004 Part III of the Act came into force. This introduced several requirements for GPs:

    • as providers of services they must make physical adjustments to their premises so that disabled people can use them
    • as employers they need to know about disability discrimination
    • as doctors they may be called upon to provide evidence of disability in proceedings against a third party.

    This article focuses on the duty of employers, but the principle can be translated across to the provision of GP services. The underlying principle is simpledisabled employees should not be treated less favourably than anyone else. Any difference in treatment must be justifiable for a specific reason.

    The Disability Discrimination Act extends beyond existing employees, applying to all aspects of employment from recruitment to departure from post.1,2 The Act also covers training, pensions, and other employment benefits.1,2 According to the Department of Health, employment tribunals are now paying particular attention tothe employee selection process, and how individuals are treated at interview.3

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