Disability group pushes for employment rights

The Disability Rights Commission has defended its rights to force employers to comply with disability discrimination laws despite the public believing education is the best way forward.

In a National Opinion Poll survey for disability charity Leonard Cheshire almost half of respondents said the commission should focus on information and education to tackle discrimination.

Only 18 per cent of the 1,000 people questioned said prosecuting organisations should be the priority while 29 per cent favoured a mixture of the two.

A spokesman for the Disability Rights Commission, which won its first case in the Court of Appeal this month, and has vowed to take a hard line with companies that discriminate against disabled people said education is important but it does not work in isolation.

“We have had decades of governments telling us that information and education is the way forward, but people are still being discriminated against and it needs to stop,” said the spokesman.

A campaign to raise awareness of the issue and the commission will be launched in the autumn.

John Knight, head of external policy at Leonard Cheshire, said the charity wants employers to voluntarily include disabled people but admitted that does not always happen.

• The DRC is asking for a response from employers by 8 August about the requirement set out in the Disability Discrimination Act for businesses to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff like installing ramps.

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