The Equality Act 2010 sets out the legal rights of disabled people. It replaced the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) but the new legislation continues to protect disabled people in the same way as the DDA.
Who is covered?
Impairments and health conditions take many forms and people are affected in different ways. Even if your impairment or condition is not obvious and you do not describe yourself as disabled you may still have rights.
The Equality Act says a disabled person is someone with "a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities". Examples include cancer, diabetes, HIV, multiple sclerosis and heart conditions; hearing or sight impairments, or a significant mobility difficulty; and mental health conditions or learning difficulties.
People in these circumstances and some others (such as people with a facial disfigurement) are likely to have rights under the Equality Act to protect them from discrimination.
What is covered?
The Equality Act now gives disabled people rights in the areas of:
- access to goods, facilities and services
- buying or renting land or property, including making it easier for disabled people to rent property and for tenants to make disability-related adaptations
- functions of public bodies.
Your rights under the Equality Act include not being treated unfairly purely because of a particular condition. In education, employment and access to goods and services, they also include having reasonable adjustments made to enable you to get a job, stay in work or use services.
Surrey County Council and the Equality Act
The disability equality duty in the DDA still applies and means that public bodies such as Surrey County Council must have "due regard" to the need to:
- promote equality of opportunity between disabled persons and other persons
- eliminate discrimination against disabled people
- eliminate harassment of disabled persons that is related to their disabilities
- promote positive attitudes towards disabled people
- encourage participation by disabled people in public life; and
- take account of disabled persons' disabilities, even where that involves treating disabled persons more favourably than other persons (e.g. the provision of an accessible parking bay near a building, where parking is not available for other visitors or employees).
The Gov.uk website offers more information about Disability and the Equalities Act.
How to get copies of the Equality Act 2010
Please see the following: Equality Act 2010.