Northern Ireland To Enjoy New Disability Discrimination
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 16, 2006
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND--An estimated 300,000 people with disabilities living in Northern Ireland will have new protections under rules announced this week.
The Disability Discrimination Order 2006 prohibits discrimination against a person on the basis of disability or illness, even if the symptoms have not yet appeared.
This means that people diagnosed with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and some mental illnesses cannot be fired, or refused an interview, credit or home loan because of an illness or disability.
Before the change, people had to prove that their conditions were "clinically well recognized" and that they had a "substantial and long-term impact" on their lives. This meant that people whose disabilities could not be specifically labeled, or whose symptoms showed up only occasionally, had difficulty proving that they experienced disability-related discrimination.
The new rules also expand the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to cover private clubs and transportation services. For example, the order requires all trains to be fully accessible by 2020.
The provisions of the order, which were announced Wednesday, are expected to be phased in over the next 12 months.
Similar legislation came into effect in December in England, Scotland and Wales.
"New Laws Ensure Greater Protection For People With Disabilities" (Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister)
Draft Disability Discrimination Order (Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister)