These pages do not apply outside Great Britain.
This website looks mainly at the position of stammering under the Equality Act 2010 (and previous Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and certain related issues. Stammering is the same as stuttering. My name is Allan Tyrer. I used to practise as a solicitor, but had already given that up (out of choice) before starting this website 10 years ago. I have a stammer myself. Click here for more about me and my partner.
The website is written mainly from the point of view of the person who stammers (or his adviser) looking into his rights under the Equality Act/DDA, but employers and service providers dealing with people who stammer will find it useful as well and there is some content specifically for them.
I am not unbiased on many of the issues raised, but am also conscious that the website is more useful to all concerned if it gives a rounded view. I have sometimes - probably often - tended to suggest how one can argue for an interpretation in favour of the person who stammers. However, I keep within what seems to me legally plausible. Also I try to indicate when I do not think that the legal position is clear, at least if the uncertainty is substantial. Ultimately issues will have to be decided by the courts.
I sometimes use the words "he" and "his" for people who stammer, employers and everyone else. I do this only for convenience, and any female people (with stammers or otherwise) or entities such as companies should please feel themselves included as well.
Of course I would be very interested to hear if anyone spots errors or omissions, always bearing in mind that the site does not aim to cover every detail, or anything which is out-of-date. I would also be very interested to hear any other comments on the website, and indeed any personal experiences of discrimination or lack of it. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I started the website because so far as I knew no one had really looked at how the DDA applied to stammering and indeed whether it did apply. My partner and I would sometimes mention the DDA, qualifying it by saying "if it applies to stammering". So I thought I would combine my legal background with my personal knowledge of stammering to find some answers. Also I was interested in writing a website on something or other, and this seemed a good topic.
The first thing I wrote were the most detailed legal pages. These went up on the internet in Autumn 1999. This was useful stuff but rather long for everyone to wade through. Therefore I quickly added shorter guides to what were then the main areas (meaning of disability, employment, goods and services) in question and answer form. These now form the 'FAQs'. A few years down the line, even the FAQs struck me as too much for a brief introduction. I therefore added shorter introduction pages, which link to the FAQs for greater detail.
So at least for 'meaning of disability', 'employment', and 'goods and services' there are three levels of detail - the introductory page, FAQs for somewhat greater detail, and finally more technical legal discussion on particular subtopics. There are also some pages going into detail on a particularly important area while trying to be more accessible (i.e. not too technical) - such as Examples of reasonable adjustments and Oral assessments. Generally, I go on the basis that different people will want different amounts of detail, so I aim to give both shorter summaries and the option to drill deeper into a particular area if the visitor wants.
The Education pages are a later addition. I added them only a year or so after the start of the website, because protection in that area was more limited. However, since 2002 education is much more fully covered by the DDA/Equality Act, and the current education pages have of course been updated to reflect that.
Other developments in the first few years included pages on how stammering may be relevant for social security benefits - which was an area I kept hearing questions on - and material on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
As I write, major changes are proposed in a new Equality Bill. There are also case law developments to try and keep up with. So ongoing updating is needed, and this doesn't always happen immediately.
Apart from updating, the main issue is trying to make the material on the website readily understandable and findable for people, while also trying to give a reasonable amount of detail for those who want it. I may succeed in this - or not - to a different extent for different visitors. In any event it is a continuing issue for me.
I did a major redesign of the website in 2006. For anyone interested in the technicalities of that, the site now uses a stylesheet, and also - for the top and sidebar on each page - SSI (server side includes) . Hopefully the redesign has made it easier to find one's way around the site - and the technical improvements make it much easier for me to make changes across the site without having to alter each page. Again design is something I keep under review.
The website had around 170,000 pageviews in 2008.
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© Allan Tyrer 1999-2009
Last updated 1st January, 2009