A woman with Type 1 Diabetes was awarded £2,000 by Belfast County Court after a concert venue denied her access to an event if she were insistent upon entering with a bottle of Lucozade in her possession.
Reports suggest that, despite trying to explain to the security guard that she needed high sugar energy drink to help manager her blood sugar levels and condition, security staff maintained that she could not be allowed to enter. This was despite the claiming showing security staff her Type 1 Diabetes tattoo and insulin pack which includes a meter to monitor blood sugar levels.
Judge Gilpin ruled that the company employed to manage security at the event had failed to provide a ‘reasonable adjustment’ to its policy of prohibiting liquids being brought in from outside the venue.
In this case, a senior legal officer from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland said that reasonable adjustments could have included making the claimant aware of the location of the venue’s medical centre and providing her with access to Lucozade once she had entered the venue. However, neither of these steps were taken.
Whilst in this case the claim was brought under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, in England and Wales, claims of this nature are brought under the Equality Act 2010.
This act defines a disability as an individual having a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The effect on the individual’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities must be more than trivial and the effects must have lasted or be likely to last at for least 12 months or for the rest their life. It is therefore highly likely that had such a claim been brought under The Equality Act, the claimant would have been considered by an English court to have a disability for the purpose of her claim.
In order to establish that a disabled person has been discriminated against, it must be proven that they have suffered a ‘detriment’ due to their disability, in comparison with others who do not suffer from said condition(s).
Commonly, claims involving allegations of disability discrimination include claims for ‘direct discrimination’, ‘indirect discrimination’, ‘discrimination arising out of disability’, ‘failure to make reasonable adjustments’, and/or harassment, dependent upon the individual circumstances of the case.
Where a person has been discriminated against by a service provider, private club or association – as in this case - they have six months less one day to bring a claim for discrimination in the county court. For example, if a person requested the provision of a reasonable adjustment, which was refused, they would have six months less one day from the point of the refusal by the organisation, to bring a claim.
If you feel that you have been discriminated against by your employer or by a service provider, our discrimination law team can help. Please contact our specialist team on 01616 966 229.