Clueless workers could land HR in court on disability

Employers in the leisure and retail sectors risk being taken to court because their staff are often “clueless” about what type of assistance to offer disabled people, the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has warned.

The commission accused employers in the two sectors of “dragging their feet” a year after new laws were introduced to make buildings more user-friendly to the UK’s 10 million disabled people.

New research by the DRC reveals that more than 50% of the 1,500 complaints received about the legislation concerned the leisure industry and high street retailers.

Bert Massie, DRC chairman, said: “We’ve got a very simple message for those high street businesses that are dragging their feet. The DRC will vigorously pursue offenders through the courts.”

Poor staff attitudes were highlighted as a major problem for disabled people, and employees are often clueless about what help to offer, the commission said. Other issues included the lack of accessible toilets in pubs, clubs and restaurants and steps to entrances.

Part three of the Disability Discrimination Act was introduced in October last year. A disabled person has the right to sue if reasonable changes have not been made to the premises of any business or service open to the public.

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