Privacy

New act needed to stop discrimination

Anew
disability act is needed to protect disabled people who are failed
by the law, according to the first annual report from the
Disability Rights Commission.

The
report says a change in the law is needed to bring all employers
under the Disability Discrimination Act. Currently, employers who
have less than 15 staff – 80 per cent of British employers – are
not covered by the legislation.

DRC
chairperson Bert Massie said: “The government is introducing new
protection rights for disabled people in 2004. But a new disability
act is needed to plug the loopholes in current legislation.”

The
report reveals that in its first year the DRC took 65,000 calls on
its helpline, 20,000 more than it originally anticipated, and it
helped 2,200 people through its casework service. It also directly
supported 41 key legal cases, which is expected to increase to
around 75 in 2001-2.

One such
case involved a local authority that dismissed an accountant with a
history of depression and resulted in a £120,000
settlement.

The
report says that the commission has also raised concerns with
government over its plans to charge severely disabled people up to
55 per cent of their income to cover the cost of their personal
assistants. It says: “Such a move would make it impossible for many
of those affected to take up paid employment.”

-
Disability Rights Commission first annual report 2000-2001 from 020
7211 4059.

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