Disability Discrimination

The Discrimination (Disability) Jersey Regulations 2018 apply from 1st September 2018.

What is a disability?

Under the Law, disability is a long-term impairment which can affect a person’s ability to participate or engage in activities such as:

1. Work;
2. Using public transport;
3. Eating out;
4. Shopping;
5. Staying in a hotel; and
6. any other area of life covered by the Law.

An impairment may be physical, mental, intellectual or sensory. Employers and service providers should think broadly about a range of impairments, such as:

1. mobility impairments, including stick users and wheelchair users
2. visual impairments
3. hearing impairments
4. limited dexterity, e.g. arthritis
5. mental health
6. learning difficulties

To qualify as ‘long-term’, the impairment must last, or be expected to last, for six months or more (or for the rest of the individual’s life). Here are some examples:

Justin has been diagnosed with cancer and told he will need to undergo treatment over a six-month period. This will count as a disability. The condition is expected to last for at least six months and has the potential to affect his ability to participate or engage in the areas of life covered by the Law. It does not matter what his actual symptoms are. It is the fact that the condition can have that effect that is important.

Mark is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He has periods when he is highly effective and other periods where he finds it very difficult to come into work at all. It may be that those periods do not in themselves last for six months, but he will still be disabled. His condition is long-term even if the periodic effects of it are not. It is the condition that must last for at least six months, rather than the effect of it.

A severe disfigurement is a disability under the Law even if it does not affect a person’s ability to participate or engage in activities. Tattoos and decorative piercings will not count as disfigurements.

The Disability Regulations insert the protected characteristic of disability into the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013. it has the same scope as the Law relating to discrimination based on age, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, sex and sexual orientation. The Law therefore protects against disability discrimination in a wide range of areas including:

1. Working and applying for jobs
2. Using public transport
3. Using sport and leisure facilities
4. Shopping
5. Visiting tourist attractions, libraries, museums and churches
6. Visiting restaurants, pubs, clubs and cafés
7. Accessing doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies and opticians
8. Using the services of banks and insurance companies
9. Renting property or hiring premises
10. Staying in a hotel
11. Visiting cinemas and theatres
12. Using local government services
13. Attending school, college and training courses

Direct and indirect discrimination

Direct and indirect discrimination apply to disability in the same way as with other protected characteristics:

Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than someone else is or would be treated because of a protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination occurs when there is no difference in treatment, but the effect of an unjustified ‘provision criterion or practice’ is to place people who share a protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage.

Harassment (or bullying) on the grounds of a disability will also apply.

If you require any guidance on Disability discrimination and how to train your staff, we would be happy to assist.

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