Anonymous case – settled before court action.
A disabled woman aided by Kester Disability Rights has been paid £7,000 in compensation by a service provider who denied her access to a service because she was unable to wear a face covering. The compensation was attained through negotiation, the reason for this is that there was no dispute that access had been denied, or that the Claimant had a disability exemption. Due to these facts, there was no question on whether compensation was due or not; the only question was how much was to be paid.
Refusing access to people unable to wear face coverings because of their disability is direct discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Since face coverings became mandatory across the nation, innumerable disabled people have been harassed in public for not wearing them. As a justification, they are often informed that confidential medical information must be publicly disclosed to warrant exemption. Furthermore, shops and hospitality businesses often exhibit “no mask no entry” signs. This can be upsetting for people who are exempt from wearing face coverings.
However, the Government website recognises that certain people are exempt from wearing a mask, and that they do not need to constantly justify their reasons for this. If a situation arises where someone is questioned and treated unfairly, and this can be proved to be discriminatory then compensation is due.
Take away points
- All places of work should have policies in place to support their employees with disabilities and protect their rights.
- The best advice to follow is government advice, it is not up to shops/restaurants and so on to create their own rules surrounding face coverings.
- All people are equal and should be treated fairly regardless of whether or not they have a disability.