In order to understand what legal developments have occurred in disability discrimination it is advisable to know the basics of the law surrounding this topic. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) is the main piece of legislation that makes it unlawful to discriminate against a disabled person in their terms of employment, promotion opportunities, dismissal, or by subjecting them to any other detriment.
In addition there are various statutes and regulations covering disability, such as, the Disability Discrimination (Meaning of Disability) Regulations, the Disability Rights Commission Act and the Disability Discrimination (Blind and Partially Sighted Persons) Regulations.
UK law defines disability as ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. In order to assess whether you fall within the definition of disability it is advisable to consult a specialist solicitor who can further advise you on the matter. The cases surrounding disability are usually centred on unfair dismissal claims. If you are the victim of discrimination resulting in an unfair dismissal, you should speak with an employment solicitor to see if you have a valid unfair dismissal claim. In most cases such employment solicitors operate under a no-win, no-fee basis.
As far as new developments go, disability discrimination is relatively new and the law is undergoing a fairly constant fine tuning both by the courts and by further legislation which expands the original DDA.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 received Royal Assent on 7 April 2005. Numerous provisions came into force in December 2005. The remaining provisions came into force in December 2006. The Act is related to disability generally and extends outside the area of employment law. The provisions are aimed at placing a duty on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. They also broaden the scope of the DDA for provision of transport, services and facilities by public authorities to disabled persons and private clubs, and impose a duty on them to make adjustments to physical features.