[access-uk] Re: help needed on the DDA

Hi Kevin:
Very disappointing indeed, have you tried calling the RNIB and asking to
speak to their legal officer, Jane Vernon, directly.
=20
Their employment rights factsheet updated in november 2006 suggests that
they most certainly do offer support, see the google html version of the
pdf at:
http://66.102.9.104/search?q=3Dcache:HFRgc2WWg2kJ:www.learningandwork.org=
/
cms/uploaded/admin/2006122011266_Your%2520rights%2520in%2520employment%2
520Nov.2006.doc+rnib+legal+advisor&hl=3Den&ct=3Dclnk&cd=3D2

This document itself includes some suggested other organisations who may
be able to help.

Looking back through my archive of files and Emails from my own case
(refused access to a restaurant with my guide dog), I found a link to
http://www.dls.org.uk the disability law service.  They were much more
direct than the DRC although as lawyers were similarly none committal.
They should however be able to tell you whether or not your situatuion
falls within the remit of the act.


Adrian Higginbotham


Accessibility content manager

British Educational Communications and Technology Agency - BECTA
Tel: Direct dial 024 7679 7333 - Becta switchboard 02476-416994.

Email: Adrian.Higginbotham@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Web: http://www.becta.org.uk/
BECTA, Millburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry, CV4 7JJ=20


-----Original Message-----
From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of kevin and emma
Sent: 28 March 2007 10:23
To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [access-uk] Re: help needed on the DDA

hi all, well i've now contacted the RNIB and the DRC, and frankly i'm
appalled at the response i got. i've pasted in the replied below along
with my original description to the DRC as too what happened. the DRC
response i found disappointing, the RNIB response i found disturbing!
and worrying too.
read on if you wish, it's quite long.

original description of the event:
What Happened: i am trying to gain employment as an estate agent. now
the job would involve some travel, conducting viewings of properties
etc. i contacted Your Move estate agents about 2 months ago to see if
they had any vacancies. i had a phone call this morning from one of
their local offices in Southsea near portsmouth, she said her name was
jackie (not sure if that's the right spelling). she said she'd been
passed my CV and asked if i was "still looking for work as an estate
agent?" i said yes. she said the role she was calling about was in their
southsea office, so "would i be able to get there from locks heathh?"
(where i live) i said yes that wasn't a problem (local train and bus
services are perfect for the route in question). i make it a point of
sending a covering letter with any job application explaining my
experience, skills etc, and also my disability, with a brief overview of
the access to work scheme and what it can provide.
i asked her if she had my covering letter, she said no she haden't been
passed that, just my Cv. so i explained my disability (i am registered
blind and have a guide dog). she'd been quite chatty and sounded
enthusiastic upto this point. from then on there was a major change in
her attitude to me. it was like a switch had been pressed and all
enthusiasm and interest in me and my CV disappeared. she became quieter
and very monosylabic from then on.  i asked her if she'd heard of the
access to work scheme, she said she had. but i explained it anyway to
make sure. i might as well not have bothered, she just wasn't interested
in what i was saying. she'd already made up her mind to reject my cv as
soon as i mentioned i had a disability. i can't quote her exact wording
during the call. but after i'd explained access to work etc, she said
something like, "well the majority of our office work is computer
based", so i explained computer access was possible, re screenreaders
etc, and that in fct being mostly computer based was actually a big
advantage for a blind person. she then said "we spend a lot of time out
of the office conducting viewings etc" again i pointed out that the
access to work scheme included provision for covering travel costs to
work and in work for a disabled person, and that i might also have
access to a support worker to help in the office and whilst out of the
office too. she then said somethihng about there being "no space really
to accommodate me" i explained adapting the computers for me to use
wouldn't take any more space than they already did. it seemed to me she
was trying to find problems that would stop me doing the job, and i
think i gave her possible solutions to all of them, but she didn't want
to discuss any such solutions or adjustments. she then said something
like " sorry i didn't read your covering letter before calling",  she
then ended the call by saying roughly "sorry we can't help you on this
occasion". from what she said throughout the phone call, and the
questions i asked. my conclusions are: she was contacting me for a
specific vacancy she had in southsea based purely on the contents of my
Cv, e.g.
skills, experience, (there is no mention in my cv itself of my
disability).
she haden't read my covering letter i sent with my cv which does explain
my disability. as soon as i explained my disability, she put up barriers
and wasn't willing to discuss solutions to those barriers/problems. she
said she'd heard of access to work, based on her attitude i find that
hard to believe or she'd surely have been much more willing to discuss
potential problems of the job and there solutions. the problems she did
raise e.g.
travel, using computers etc, weren't valid as access technology makes
computers accessible, and travel could be covered by ATW. and i didn't
understand her comment about lack of space to accommodate. her comment
about "sorry for not reading your covering letter ..." says to me that
if she'd known i had a disability before hand, she'd never have called
me. finally, her ending of the call, "sorry we can't help you" ... she
never made any attempt whatsoever to help me or to overcome the problems
i might come across.
to me all this addes up to a clear case of discrimination. no attempt to
discuss the situation and to find solutions, no sign of "reasonable
adjustment" and a very clear indication that if she'd known i was
disabled beforehand, she'd never have contacted me at all. if my
applicatoin had ben taken further, and it was found taht even with
adjustments etc, the job wasn't feasible, then i could accept that. what
i can't accept is the total lack of willingness to even discuss my
situation and what could be done to make the job possible for me to do.
i've spoken to 2 other estate agents in the last week whose attitude was
totally the opposite and so to me it makes the attitude of Your Move
unjustified and discriminatory.

DRC response:
Dear Mr Lyon

Thank you for your email to the Disability Rights Commission (DRC)
regarding your issue with Your Move.

At the Helpline, we advise on the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
1995.

Firstly, in order for a person to be classed as having a disability they
have to meet the definition of the Act. The Act says that a person must
have a mental or physical impairment which has a substantial, adverse
effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The
substantial effects must also be long term meaning they have lasted 12
months, are likely to last for 12 months or for the rest of a person's
life. As you have said that you are registered blind and have a guide
dog, it is more than likely that you would meet the definition of
disability.

I have read the details you have given in your email and it could be
said that you have been treated less favorably, it could also be said
that direct discrimination could have taken place. Direct discrimination
occurs when a person makes assumptions about a person's disability
purely based on the fact that they have a disability. It could be said
that the lady at Your Move assumed you would not be able to do the role
of estate agent because you are registered blind, she did not consider
your own individual capabilities and did not look at reasonable
adjustments which could have been made for you.

Unfortunately, as there was not a particular post that had been
advertised that you were turned down for it could be difficult to prove
that a position would have been offered you if you did not have a visual
impairment. The lady could say that there were no positions vacant.

I would suggest that you write a letter to Your Move and ask for
justification on the treatment you received and explain that you feel
that discrimination did take place. If you receive a response you are
more than welcome to contact the Helpline again to inform us of the
response but you maybe unable to take any further action as you were not
turned down for a particular post.

RNIB response:
Dear Kevin,

Thank you for your enquiry to the Royal National Institute of the Blind
Helpline.

RNIB does not have anyone who can assist with employment law. I would
suggest you approach your local Citizens Advice Bureau, as they can
assist with employment law.

so the DRC don't want to know ( i suspect as adrian mentioned in his
post, it's not a new area so they arent' interested!), and the RNIB say
to go to the CAB because they don't advise on employment law! come on,
someone tell me i'm dreaming here! so it looks like if i want to take
this further, i'm going to have to take on Your Move on my own, as 2 of
the organisations you'd expect to back a disabled person up in such a
situation, don't want to know. maybe i'm just overreacting, but i feel
like i was discriminated against, and noone seems willing or able to
help me. it's no wonder companies feel like they can ignore the DDA, it
seems they can because the organisations that bang on aobut
discrimination and equal rights, run for cover when they actually have
to do anything!  sorry, smile, i'll stop ranting now.
kevin (lord L)
"Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without
notice." - will durant
skype: lordandladyl
email/msn: kream@xxxxxxxxxxxx
----- Original Message -----
From: "Adrian Higginbotham" <adrian.higginbotham@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 12:50 PM
Subject: [access-uk] Re: help needed on the DDA


Hi Kevin - employment is section 2 of the DDA, the best thing to do is
to find the act online and read it for yourself, the trouble with
interpretations or online articles is that they are always very context
specific so unless you find a situation exactly like your own.

 When you've done that then phone the drc helpline, I found them a bit
slow and frustrating but useful overall, they take some details and then
an advisor with expertese in your particular circumstances will call you
back.  They are unlikely to take the case on, on your behalf unless it
is very unusual and establishes new case law but they will advice you as
to the appropriate courses of action.  It's very frustrating and the
first reaction is to take them straight to the cleaners but you have a
much stronger case down the line if you can demonstrate that from the
outset you gave them as much opportunity as possible to reverse their
decision, justify themselves, develop their reasoning, and quite
possibly tie a noose for their own knecks.

Adrian Higginbotham


Accessibility content manager

British Educational Communications and Technology Agency - BECTA
Tel: Direct dial 024 7679 7333 - Becta switchboard 02476-416994.

Email: Adrian.Higginbotham@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Web: http://www.becta.org.uk/
BECTA, Millburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry, CV4 7JJ=3D20


-----Original Message-----
From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of kevin and emma
Sent: 20 March 2007 11:00
To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [access-uk] help needed on the DDA

hi all, sorry if this is OT, contact me off list if necessary if it is.
i'm currently job hunting, and i've just had a phone call from a
potential employer.  it turned out to be the most blatent case of
discrimination i've ever come across, if i haden't heard it myself i
wouldn't have believed it.
it's an estate agent, an national one. i'm going to right to the branch
in question, and their head office about it. but i won't to quote any
relevant passages from the DDA as regards employment of disabled people,
and was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction. also,
is it worth contacting the DRC or equivalent now, or should i try and
deal with the potential employer on my own first. any help would be
appreciated! as i am absolutely blazing mad at what just happened, i'm
physically shaking as i type i'm so mad! i'm quite prepared to take this
as far as it needs to go as i feel for a nationwide estate agency chain
(or any business come to that) to behave like this is a disgrace!
sorry i'll stop ranting now! smile.
kevin (lord L)
"Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without
notice." - will durant
skype: lordandladyl
email/msn: kream@xxxxxxxxxxxx

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