The Equality Act 2010
Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal for a service provider to fail to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Under the Coronavirus Regulations 2019-2020, certain people are exempt from public health requirements, such as wearing a face covering in places where wearing a face covering is normally required. Any disabled person who feels that a service provider has failed to make reasonable adjustments or provide exemptions can bring a claim against the service provider in the county court.
Whether a service provider has failed to make reasonable adjustments or allow exemptions can only be decided by the court if a case is brought against them. In reaching a decision, the court would rely on the evidence of expert witnesses with a wide knowledge of disability issues. BuDS is such an organisation.
Our Legal Tests for Applicants
When a disabled person applies for a Fair4All Card, BuDS will apply the same standards of evidence and proof to their application that would be applied in the court. This means that it is highly likely that the court would accept the adjustments and exemptions shown on the Fair4All Card to be reasonable. This means that a service provider who fails to provide a disabled person with the adjustments and exemptions shown on the Fair4All Card is very likely to be found to have illegally discriminated against that disabled person.
Role of Fair4All Card Partners
The benefit of the Fair4All Card to businesses and service providers is that they do not have to attempt to work out the adjustments and exemptions a disabled person might be legally entitled to. This has been done by BuDS in advance and they will be shown on the Fair4All Card.
If a disabled Fair4All Card Holder was to make a disability discrimination claim against a business or service provider because they had not received an adjustment or exemption not shown on their card, the Fair4All Card will tend to protect businesses or service providers from being found to have illegally discriminated.
Disabled people without a Fair4All Card are still entitled to reasonable adjustments or exemptions, but it is up to the business or service to ensure that they receive what they are legally entitled to. We encourage businesses and services to sign-post disabled people without a Fair4All Card to the scheme so that they can receive a card. Over time, this will be of great benefit to businesses and services as most of their disabled customers will have cards and it will be clear how you should be supporting them.
What if we can’t provide what’s on the card?
The Card says what disabled people are legally entitled to, so if you can’t provide it, you are potentially liable to be found to have illegally discriminated against that person, if they were to bring a claim to the county court. Therefore, it is very important that you do everything you can to provide the adjustments or exemptions shown on the card or, if this really is impossible, work out with the disabled person another way to provide them with what they need. For example, if you do not have a step-free access, you could get a portable ramp. BuDS will provide you with expert professional help if your business or service is having difficulties providing the adjustments and exemptions shown on the card.