First Lawsuit Filed Under Disability Discrimination Act
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 29, 2005
DERBY, ENGLAND--Nearly ten months after the most recent provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act came into force, a Derby wheelchair user has become the first person to sue a business for failing to provide access under the law.
Greg Jackson, 43, filed the complaint Friday against retail department store chain Debenhams after what he claims were several unsuccessful attempts since January 2004 to have them make their menswear department in its Derby store accessible to wheelchair users.
"Improvements to access the menswear section in the Derby store would be relatively cheap and simple to make," Jackson told Out-Law.com.
"Instead, I'm in the embarrassing situation of having to ask for clothes to be brought down to me by a shop assistant which means it's impossible to browse properly and places pressure on me to buy. It also emphasizes and draws attention to my impairment and so I feel like I'm being singled out because of my disability."
Debenhams has 123 stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with profits last year totaling £300 million ($530 million US).
The 1995 law gave businesses in the UK nearly ten years to remove or alter physical barriers to accessibility or face potential civil and criminal penalties. The latest provision came into effect October 1, 2004.
"Store faces disabled access writ" (BBC News)
"Debenhams faces disability discrimination claim" (Out-Law)