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Provision of services

This page outlines very briefly the rules under Part 3 Equality Act 2010 against discrimination by shops, businesses and other providers. There is more detail in the Services FAQs. A separate page suggests guidelines for service providers on Making services accessible.

In general, anyone providing goods, services or facilities to the public is prohibited from discriminating against disabled people. On this website I use 'services' as a shorthand for 'goods, services or facilities'.

The rules apply whether the services are provided free or for payment. They include for example shops, local councils and government departments, telesales businesses, and courts (see Appearing in court).

There are special rules on education and employment services, and there are limited exceptions in the case of airlines and ships. Public functions (eg police arrest) and many private members' clubs are also within the Equality Act even where they do not involve services to the public.

Broadly, there are rules against providers treating a person less favourably related to disability, sometimes subject to an 'objective justification' defence. There is also a duty to make reasonable adjustments.


Examples of what may well breach the Equality Act:

Making a complaint

You can complain to the service provider, which may help raise awaress of the importance of making services accessible for people who stammer, and produce improvements for others with a stammer.

There is likely to be a right to compensation for injury to feelings.

Even if you do not want compensation for yourself. you could consider asking the service provider to make a donation of an agreed amount to charity. (Please consider the British Stammering Association: stammering.org).

Any court case - if things get that far - normally go to the County Court, or sheriff court in Scotland.

More: Complaints and going to court.

There is a free Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), and also other possible sources of help and advice.

More information

There is a statutory Equality Act Code of Practice on services, public functions and assocations (pdf, link to EHRC website). It is not binding but needs to be taken into account by courts.

There is much more detail at the Services FAQs, and the pages linked from it. For public authorities, the Public Sector Equality Duty is likely to apply, as well as the normal rules.


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© Allan Tyrer 1999-2013
Last updated 22nd January, 2013