Did you see Mary’s Silver Service on Channel 4 the other night? This showed Mary Portas helping a group of elderly people get back to work. Though it had its amusing moments the programme did have a serious message – disabled and elderly people shouldn’t be thrown on the scrapheap. This is enshrined in law too!
Did you know that an employer must make reasonable adjustments to allow you to work in a safe environment if you have a disability? If you have mobility issues and need help in getting about; for instance, to get upstairs in a place of work; the employer has a duty to provide it.
The Equalities Act is there to protect you should you need it. People develop mobility issues for a range of reasons; you might have been seriously injured or develop arthritis for example.
Perhaps 50 years ago you might have been put out of work because of mobility impairments, however today things have changed and employers now need to make adjustments to enable you to work regardless of any disability you may have. People with mobility issues are trapped in their homes and barred from doing many things that they might be able to do if they were just able to climb stairs.
A whole range of public bodies have had to install equipment to help people to get about. Everywhere from churches to art galleries and council offices have had to take action to help you get about. London Underground is spending millions on enabling people to get about on the Tube and it is getting easier to travel almost everywhere by train but there is a long way to go before it is completely accessible.
With regard exemptions to mobility, the only people completely exempt from the Act are individuals who are ‘providing care services in their own home’. Transport services such as airlines and trains don’t have to be completely accessible as long as the basic service is provided.
For employers and people who run spaces open to the public, this might mean a certain expense but it also means that everyone can play a part in activities. Within reason you should be able to go everywhere a person without mobility issues can. That might be by train, but also upstairs in restaurant or hairdressers. Knowing your rights is important as these rights are there to help you. Don’t be afraid of making a fuss – you don’t make an omelette without breaking eggs!