Disabled Rights Commission demands extension of rights

Gaps in anti-discrimination law are providing a ‘license to discriminate’
against disabled people, according to the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

The DRC, which published its annual review last week, is calling for people
with HIV and cancer to be included within the definition of disability and the
extension of disabled people’s rights to public transport and private clubs.

The body said that nearly 10 per cent of callers were turned away from its
national helpline last year because they are not protected by the law.

Bert Massie, chairman of the DRC, said that despite Government promises that
new rights would be introduced, disabled people are still unable to challenge
the discrimination they face on public transport or if they have particular
medical conditions.

"The Government has delivered much needed reform for Britain’s 8.6
million disabled people. But it is critical that the pace is maintained,"
he said.

The DRC recently published for consultation two codes of practice on new
employment rights to be introduced in October 2004 (see box).

Weblink www.drc.org.uk

What HR needs to know

The DRC recently published for
consultation two codes of practice on new employment rights

Both codes are likely to come into force in October 2004 when
the changes to the law brought about by the Disability Discrimination Act
(Amendment) Regulations come into force. These regulations:

– Amend the statutory definition of direct discrimination

– Make major changes to the duty to make reasonable adjustments

– Introduce specific protection against harassment which
relates to a person’s disability

– Alter the burden of proof in disability discrimination cases

– Extends the DDA to contract workers, office holders and even
barristers.

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