The BBC reported, on the 29th April 2019, that students at Liverpool University are being charged extra for the extension of assessment times where there are medical or disability related reasons for the need for an extension. Students have also reported access problems where sessions and tutorials have been booked in rooms difficult for disabled students to access.
Since modern disability legislation appeared in the UK in 1995, it is has become widely understood that discrimination against employees or workers is unlawful, although that can raise difficult questions of reasonableness where expensive adaptations or alterations have to be balanced against the benefit to employees or potential employees. It seems less well known that disability legislation extends to the provision of education (as at Liverpool) or commercial and retail.
The costs of getting this wrong for service providers or educators can be substantial if they receive a substantial award and it is better to be proactive in meeting students or customers’ needs.
Members of Old Square Chambers have advised on and appeared in court and commented about such matters, on either side of the debate since 1995, and have a substantial track record in this difficult area where parties are likely to have very different ideas about what is ‘reasonable’.
Robin Moira White.
disability; discrimination; legislation; students; university; employees; workers; education
William Meade (Senior Clerk)