A recent article in the media reported that a disabled individual was refused access to Harswood Golf Course in Essex, after the council-operated course refused him entry on a motorised buggy.
It is understood that after having his right leg amputated in 2000 as a result of a lethal tissue-eating bacteria, golf became an important part of the claimant’s recovery. However, the course allegedly refused him entry without a letter from the doctor justifying his medical need for a buggy.
Although the claimant has a prosthetic limb, because of his disability the buggy is needed in order to play an 18-hole course.
The claimant argues that by refusing to allow him to use a buggy without a doctor’s letter, the council has discriminated against him because of his inability to walk around the golf course without it as a direct result of his disability. It is also understood that the claimant also argues that the council was applying a policy that indirectly discriminates against all disabled people who require a buggy to play on a course.
It has been reported that Brentwood Council denies any discrimination, and in a statement concluded that they are ‘committed to ensuring safe access for everyone to all its facilities’.
What is the definition of disability?
Under the Equality Act 2010, a person with a disability is someone who has physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
Indirect discrimination and discrimination arising from disability
Discrimination arising from disability takes place when a person is treated less favourably, or is put at a disadvantage, for a reason that relates to their disability.
Indirect discrimination may occur when a disabled person is (or would be) disadvantaged by an unjustifiable provision, criterion or practice applied to everyone, which puts (or would put) people sharing the disabled person’s disability at particular disadvantage compared to others, and puts (or would put) the disabled person at that disadvantage.
If you feel that you have been treated differently or have been subjected to a detriment due to a disability, please call our specialist discrimination team for further advice on 01616 966 229.
By Abigail Martland, graduate paralegal in the dispute resolution team