Britain Launches Final Phase Of Disability Discrimination
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 30, 2004
LONDON, ENGLAND--On October 1, the third and final phase of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 comes into effect to directly influence the lives of Britain's 9.8 million people with disabilities.
The DDA requires businesses that provide goods and services to be accessible to customers with disabilities. In some cases that means permanent, physical changes to buildings and other structures.
Small businesses with 15 or fewer employees, which have been exempt from the law for the past nine years, will now have to comply.
Those businesses that are not accessible, or that treat customers with disabilities differently than other customers, could face heavy fines. The anti-discrimination law allows people with disabilities to lodge complaints that could lead to criminal charges and fees.
"Reasonable adjustments" will also be required for workers with disabilities.
Catherine Casserley, senior legal advisor to the Disability Rights Commission, told the BBC: "It's worth remembering that disabled people have been waiting an awfully long time to have these rights implemented. I think as a result, disabled people will want to use these rights."
According to The Observer, a test case against at least one, yet unnamed, business is being prepared.
"How the law changes on 1 October" by Geoff Adams-Spink (BBC News)
"Disability law to 'name and shame' shops" (The Observer)
Government Disability Website