Disability Law and Legal Rights
Across the UK, there are laws in place that are designed to ensure those who have a disability are not discriminated against. While many people associate these laws with the workplace, they actually provide protection in an array of settings. From where you receiver your education, to the restaurants you eat in, your rights to equality are enshrined in both British and European law. It is thanks to these laws that you are also protected at home, and can legally gain access to benefits for financial support.
Your Financial Rights
The British welfare system provides assistance to you if your disability prevents you from working. As a disabled person, you will be entitled to unemployment benefits, housing benefit, and council tax relief. In addition to this, working people with disabilities are entitled to a higher element of tax credits, which are designed to act as an income supplement. In order to access these benefits, you will need to complete several forms and obtain evidence of your disability from a medical professional who can assess you and gain access to your medical records.
Disability Law and the Workplace
In the UK, you are entitled to a variety of rights in the workplace that are protected by law. These rights begin from the moment you apply to work somewhere, and continue for the duration of your employment. When you apply for a job, employers are not legally entitled to ask you if you are disabled, unless there is a legally permissible reason for doing so. Some of these reasons include needing to make the interview process appropriate for a disabled individual, and needing to increase the number of disabled individuals in the workplace.
Once you are employed, your employer is legally obligated to adjust the workplace so that you can operate within it regardless of your disability. This applies to both mental and physical disabilities. This can include physically adapting a workplace for mobility purposes, as well as introducing enhancements to assist those who suffer from depression. In order for these changes to be made, it is necessary for you to talk to your employer or HR department.
Your are also legally protected when it comes to the dismissal process. An employer cannot dismiss you from your duties as a result of your disability. If you want to make sure that this right, or any other disability in the workplace right, is enforced, you should approach your trade union or seek mediation services. Any employment dispute can usually be resolved away from court, and you will always have support from charities like Disability Rights UK.
Disability Laws and Education
The European Human Rights Act dictates that we are all entitled to an education. This means that there are UK laws that will ensure you can gain access to an education, regardless of what your disability is. At a standard education level, this means that schools must make structural adjustments for pupils who have mobility problems. As far as learning difficulties are concerned, this means that teachers cannot reprimand a child who is unable to learn as a result of the disability that they are experiencing. Children with learning difficulties also have a right to access additional support in the form of extra staff. Finally, children with disabilities are protected against discrimination from other children.
As far as higher education is concerned, it is illegal for a university to discriminate against an applicant on the basis of their disability. Universities must also make sure that there is a dedicated person in place to guide students who have disabilities. By not meeting these terms, a university could be operating illegally and can face civil prosecutions.
Disability Rights in Other Settings
Unfortunately, some individuals who are disabled find themselves on the receiving end of hateful abuse from others. Such activity is illegal, and perpetrators will face prosecution from the CPS. The police take hate crimes seriously, and will actively push for a prosecution. Victims of a crime will also receive legal support.
If you have been accused of a crime, the police are legally obligated to cater for your disability in medical and practical ways. If your disability requires assistance in the form of sign language etc, it will be provided. Similarly, those with learning disabilities can access a responsible adult service for vulnerable people.
You are also protected against discrimination in public places. It is illegal for venues to refuse access to a person on the basis of their disability. If a restaurant, bar, or an entertainment venue refuses you entry, they are acting illegally.
Governing Bodies and Charities
In the UK, the governing body ACAS protects disabled persons against discrimination. This protection is most commonly provided in the workplace, but can also extend to other areas. As well as providing clear guidelines for those who have a disability, ACAS also provides guidelines for employers. Their free helpline is designed to help both disabled people and union representatives determine whether a breach of the equality act has occurred.
If you require more comprehensive information on your rights from a charity, you can use the services of Scope. Scope is a charity that helps people with disabilities access and enjoy their rights in every aspect of life. From advice regarding benefits applications, to legal directions when a disability hate crime has occurred, Scope possess the expertise and volunteers required to make sure those who have disabilities enjoy all the protection the law offers them.
In the UK, various acts and guidelines ensure that you are able to remain equal as a person who has a disability. The scope of these laws covers disabilities in a physical and mental context, and harsh penalties are in place for those who fail to follow them. If you feel you have been discriminated against, the police, your employer, ACAS, Scope, or the Citizens Advice Bureau can provide you with further guidance.