Introduced in 2010, the Equality Act ensures that businesses fairly treat everyone, both employees and customers alike. The Act is designed to ensure those with a protected characteristic have the same experience as everyone else – this includes people with disabilities. This article explores how the Equality Act impacts Changing Places, and discuss what constitutes ‘reasonable adjustments’.
The Equality Act was designed to protect people against discrimination, harassment, or victimisation in the workplace, and as users of services. The Act specifically protects people based on the following protected characteristics:
The Act means any people falling within these categories must not be treated any less favourably than someone who doesn’t have a protected characterise.
For disabled people specifically, this means anyone who is disabled, thought to be disabled, or is with someone who is disabled must be treated fairly by employers and businesses offering goods and services.
When it was introduced, it replaced the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, an earlier act that was designed for similar reasons.
The Act states that businesses providing goods or services must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure anyone can access their services.
“The Equality Act 2010 requires providers of goods, facilities and services to members of the public (i.e. shops and offices) to make reasonable adjustments to improve access to premises/buildings.”– The Equality Act 2010
“The Equality Act 2010 requires providers of goods, facilities and services to members of the public (i.e. shops and offices) to make reasonable adjustments to improve access to premises/buildings.”
– The Equality Act 2010
This includes providing ‘reasonable access’ to those services – for example, including an accessible toilet in your building to ensure there are adequate facilities for those with disabilities.
If you don’t already have ‘reasonable access’, the Act also states that ‘reasonable adjustments’ should be made to allow disabled people to use your business.
There are no set guidelines on what constitutes reasonable access or reasonable adjustments, instead, businesses are relied upon to make their own sensible decisions and implement changes.
What is reasonable looks different depending on the type of business you run but some basic steps you can take to ensure you meet requirements are:
These adjustments should not be ignored until you are in a situation where a customer can’t access your business – it is your duty to anticipate these needs.
However, the Equality Act does recognise that what is ‘reasonable’ is dependent upon the situation. For example, a cinema would not be expected to increase lighting during showings to help those with sight disabilities as this would change the nature of the service provided. But a cinema could increase floor lighting guides and ensure lights are tuned up immediately before and after a film showing.
It is in this grey area of reasonable and unreasonable that many businesses fall short of meeting the needs of the disability community. This is especially true when it comes to installing a Changing Places toilet.
With over 250,000 people in the UK needing assistance to use the toilet or change continence pads there is a large portion of the population which could benefit from being able to access a Changing Places toilet.
The demand for Changing Places is there. For some businesses, the cost of installing a Changing Places toilet may be deemed unreasonable. But, what is considered a reasonable expense when it comes to vastly improving the lives of people with disabilities? In many cases, help with funding is available and associated installation costs can be offset by making your business available to more customers.
Perhaps one circumstance where it could be argued a Changing Places toilet could be more difficult to install is in the case of historic and listed buildings. But even here, with a little consideration and the help of a company specialising in disability adaptions, it is entirely possible to install sympathetic Changing Places facilities that satisfy all associated legislation. The Tower of London managed to do so in 2020, plus there a number of options, including a no-fuss modular Changing Places toilet.
“Reasonable” is ultimately your choice until it isn’t, and you encounter a situation where a customer is discriminated against. Whilst the discrimination may be inadvertent, that will not legally excuse it.
Call 07729 224 738 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgWe’re open Monday to Friday, 08:00-18:00.
To learn more about Changing Places, why not download our brochure or attend one of our monthly online seminars.
Call: 07729 224 738email: email@example.com:00-18:00, Mon-Fri
Please submit your details to receive further information about our modular home extensions…
Don’t forget to check your ‘junk’ folder if you don’t immediately receive your download.
Please submit your details to receive further information about our sensory rooms…
Please submit your details to receive further information about our Changing Places facilities…
Send us a quick message via the form below and a member of the RISE team will be in contact a.s.a.p…