The significance of Disability Anti-Discrimination Laws

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DISABILITY ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS 1 There is a great deal of evidence that people are supporting anti-discrimination legislations in the United Kingdom. This evidence emanates from the support that comes from the trade unions, such as the trade union congress, and other organizations which aim at supporting the disabled people within the society. There is no way that denying equal opportunity to the disabled people can be morally justified[1]. This is against the principles of International Human Rights which advocate for equality in regard to an access of resources, and opportunities to all people, regardless of their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and physique. Initiating anti-discriminatory laws against the disabled is a trend that most western and democratic countries are following. This includes countries such as Canada, United States, Australia, and even New Zealand. It is the responsibility of the government to initiate laws and legislations whose main aim is to protect the disabled people within the society. This was a resolution adopted in 2008 by the United Nations program on actions concerning the disabled people. The aim of this resolution was to help the disabled people achieve their full potential, and recognize the right of all human beings to receive equal treatment, irrespective of their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Based on these United Nations resolutions and the need to promote equality of all people within the United Kingdom, the passage of disability anti-discriminatory laws was necessary[2]. One of the legislations that changed the manner, in which disabled people were treated in the UK, is the 1970 Disabled and Chronically Sick Person Act[3]. This law allowed disabled people a right to the equal access of educational and recreational opportunities. Under this law, it was the responsibility of local authorities to ensure that disabled people are not discriminated upon when it came to accessing social and recreational facilities. These local authorities had the duty and the role of providing some special educational needs to children with disability, and this included the deaf, and the blind[4]. This act also made it mandatory for local authorities to create special parking areas, and sanitary facilities that people with disability could use. This law had a very positive effect on the lives of the disabled people. This is because they were able to easily access a variety of services from the government, and other local and private institutions[5]. On this basis, the living conditions of their lives changed, when compared to the way in which the disabled people lived during the periods of 1939-1945. It is important to denote that during this period of 1935 to 1945, the disabled were unable to get an access to quality medical, education and employment opportunities[6]. The Seebohm report of 1968 recognized the need of improving the living conditions of the disabled. This was after an investigation by Seebohm Rowntree on the social status of people with disability and the poor in England. The report denoted that these people lived in very pathetic conditions and most of them were poor. On this basis, there was a need of introducing laws that would protect them. In 1995, parliament passed the disability discrimination act[7]. This law was established for purposes of fighting discrimination of the disabled, and ensuring that they are included in the social, economic, and political development of the United Kingdom. In 2005, the Disability Act of 1995 was amended and it placed an obligation to all public authorities to act in a manner that will create equality of opportunity between people living with disability, and people who are not living with disability. This act also requires all public officials and authorities to act in a manner that will eliminate discrimination and harassment of the disabled because of their disabilities. A case in point is the 2004 case involving Paul vs. the National Probation Service. In this case, the national probation service was unable to initiate policies aimed at fighting the discrimination of disabled people. Paul was a chronically depressed individual, but the national probation service refused to hire him[8]. They also failed to carry out an investigation on the level of his chronic illness and whether he had the capability to carry out the assigned duties. The employment tribunal ruled that the employer was liable of discriminating against a disabled person, and failing to initiate measures aimed at protecting the disabled[9]. Another case is the Archibald vs. the Fife Council. In this case, Mrs. Archibald was unable to walk because of complications in surgery. The council gave her the roles of an office worker, removing her from the sweeping job. When she tried to apply for a promotion, she was unable to get one[10]. This is because the job entailed one to engage in competitive interviews. However, no reasonable adjustments were made by the council to accommodate the interests of Mrs. Archibald. The House of Lords allowed the appeal and denoted that the council was discriminating against her, because they did not make any reasonable adjustments to accommodate her interests[11]. The aims of these disability discrimination laws is to promote and encourage the participation of the disabled in all spheres of their lives, which includes political, economic, and social spheres of their lives. In 2001, based on the need of promoting equity in education, the parliament enacted the 2001 Disability and Special Education Needs Act[12]. This was an extension of the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995, and it highlights virtually all areas of education. This law makes it a crime for school institutions to deny a disabled person education based on his physical incapability[13]. The main purpose of this law is to make sure that disabled people are able to access the same quality of education, like that of their counter-parts who are not disabled. This law manages to explain the various functions and duties of disability bodies[14]. It also explains how these institutions will conduct their affairs for purposes of protecting the disabled people within the society. However, it is important to denote that the Disability and Special Needs Education Act only deals with the methods of avoiding unlawful discrimination of students with disability. In conclusion, the main disability anti-discrimination law in the United Kingdom is the disability discrimination act of 1995. In as much as this law has passed through a series of amendments over the years, it gives people with disability equal rights in areas such as employment, education, access to social facilities, and right of services from government institutions. It is important to denote that currently, the UK uses the equality act as its main anti-discrimination law. It has virtually all the provisions that are contained in the 1995 disability discrimination act. These legislations are necessary and appropriate because they help to promote equitable distribution of resources. Bibliography: Julie Anderson, War, disability and rehabilitation in Britain: "soul of a nation".( Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011). Samuel Bagenstos, Disability rights law: cases and materials. (New York: Foundation Press :, 2010). Ruth Colker, Milani Adam, and Bonnie P. Tucker. Federal disability law in a nutshell. (4th ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West/Thomson, 2010).. Andrease Dimopoulos, Issues in human rights protection of intellectually disabled persons ( Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010). . Justin Healey, Disability rights and awareness. (Thirroul, N.S.W.: The Spinney Press, 2010). James Holland,. Employment law 2012. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). James Holland, Employment law 2013. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). . Uma Kukathas, Disability rights. (Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010). Susan Schweik, The ugly laws: disability in public. (New York: New York University Press, 2009). John Vaughn, A comparative analysis of disability laws. (New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010).

[1] Susan Schweik, The ugly laws: disability in public. (New York: New York University Press, 2009), p. 31. [2] Samuel Bagenstos, Disability rights law: cases and materials. (New York: Foundation Press :, 2010), p. 51. [3] Julie Anderson, War, disability and rehabilitation in Britain: "soul of a nation".( Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011), p. 22. [4] Susan Schweik, The ugly laws: disability in public. (New York: New York University Press, 2009), p. 33. [5] Julie Anderson, War, disability and rehabilitation in Britain: "soul of a nation".( Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011), p. 26. [6] Ruth Colker, Milani Adam, and Bonnie P. Tucker. Federal disability law in a nutshell. (4th ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West/Thomson, 2010), p. 61. [7] Andrease Dimopoulos, Issues in human rights protection of intellectually disabled persons ( Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), p. 42. [8] James Holland,. Employment law 2012. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 51. [9] Uma Kukathas, Disability rights. (Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010), p. 31. [10] James Holland, Employment law 2013. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 15. [11] Justin Healey, Disability rights and awareness. (Thirroul, N.S.W.: The Spinney Press, 2010), p, 29. [12] James Holland, Employment law 2013. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 17. [13] Julie Anderson, War, disability and rehabilitation in Britain: "soul of a nation".( Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011), p. 52. [14] John Vaughn, A comparative analysis of disability laws. (New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010), p. 57.
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