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It’s twenty years since legal rights for the disabled were established

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The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) came into force twenty years ago.  Its enactment followed years of public campaigning and numerous demonstrations and created rights to enable the disabled to fight against state and business discrimination.

The DDA defines a person with disabilities as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities (section 1 DDA). As a result of the DDA and the Equality Act 2010, those with disabilities are afforded more protection in their education, in the workplace and in their access to services including transport. In particular, employers must:

  • ensure that the disabled are not treated less favourably for a reason related to their disability;

  • make reasonable adjustments for disabled people; and

  • make other reasonable adjustments to the physical premises within which disabled employees work to ensure there are no barriers to their access to the workplace.

Making these ‘reasonable adjustments’ requires employers to take an active approach to ensure that their disabled employees encounter no barriers to their participation in the workplace. (Although note there are some exceptions to allow for those cases where no reasonable adjustments are possible.)

There are strict time limits in place within which to make a discrimination claim: in most cases, 3 months (less one day). If you have been discriminated against for reason of your disability, it is important to take action quickly.

An exhibition, ‘The Disability Discrimination Act’ is currently running at the People’s History Museum in Manchester until 19 November 2015. Click here for more details and here for the Guardian’s report on the exhibition.

For more information, contact Susan Mayall on or telephone 0161 684 6948.


Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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