access2go

FREQUENTLY (AND NOT SO FREQUENTLY) ASKED QUESTIONS

Updated: 24/12/07

EXAMPLE

DISCRIMINATORY ATTITUDE IN A TEA ROOM

A judgement under the DDA as reported by the National Register of Access Consultants in 2007:

Disabled woman wins case against tea shop owner

When Jazz Shaban, who has brittle bones and uses a wheelchair, tried to visit Wharfe's Restaurant and Tea Room in Shaftesbury, Dorset, she and her friend wanted to use the downstairs seating area, which is accessed via two steps. They immediately faced resistance from the tea shop owner, Rosemary Wharfe, who shouted, "Not in here, we cannot accommodate that." Although Wharfe did not turn up in court, District Judge Smith ruled that this was "the clearest possible case of discrimination", and awarded Shaban 4,500 in compensation.

Sir Bert Massie, Chairman of the former Disability Rights Commission (DRC), voiced his feelings about the case when he said: "This is a very significant result and should send out a strong message that such discrimnatory and aggressive behaviour is unlawful and will not be tolerated. Small businesses are not exempt from the law and disabled people have every right to be treated with dignity and respect."

Note from access2go

The issue here seems not to be so much the steps but the aggressive attitude of the proprietor. The Act isn't about closing premises down but is about efforts being made to improve accessibility. In recent consultations with disabled people on access to local authority premises, several areas found that staff attitude and understanding was their principal concern, not just getting into facilities.




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