Scroll down

Discriminating cover for businesses

News that pub chain Greene King were called upon to defend their approach to disability discrimination, when staff refused to serve a customer who was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, illustrates how companies can find themselves defending discrimination claims.

Written by Paul Brown on 23rd July 2019

Discriminating cover for businesses

News that pub chain Greene King were called upon to defend their approach to disability discrimination, when staff refused to serve a customer who was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, illustrates how companies can find themselves defending discrimination claims.

Greene King has been forced to issue an apology after a member of staff, at one of its bars, turned away a woman suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

In addition to ensuring that there is no discrimination when it comes to the way in which staff are treated, businesses also need to be aware of the obligations of the Equality Act, which requires equality of access to services for disabled people. Under the Equality Act it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone because of a "protected characteristic”, one of which is disability. Any physical, or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on someone’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, will be determined as a disability. This definition will apply to a wider proportion of the population than might be imagined and data published by the Department for Work and Pensions shows that 19% of working age adults in the UK are disabled.

Whilst some disabilities such as mobility and sight may be self-evident, others such as hearing, impaired memory, cancer, diabetes, heart conditions and mental health conditions may be less so.

The costs of a discrimination claim

Someone who has been discriminated against, on the grounds of their disability, can bring a civil action in the County Court and claim damages for injury to feelings. There is NOlimit on the amount of damages that can be awarded. The court can also grant an injunction to prevent future discrimination. In addition to paying your own legal costs and those of the victim, if you lose your case in Court, you could also be ordered to change a policy or make a reasonable adjustment.

Help is at hand

It is easy to see how companies can find themselves engaged in a costly discrimination claim and comforting to know that insurance cover is available for defence costs and awards and damages, where legally allowed, and excluding criminal fines and penalties.

If you would like to discuss this matter and how you can protect your business, then please get in touch with your usual Franklands’ contact on 01332 545720.

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/22/greene-king-pub-forced-apologise-turning-away-disabled-customer/

               https://fullfact.org/health/how-many-people-have-disability/

Sign up for our newsletter

Get social

Quality insurance, expert advice - call us for your FREE no obligation review on

Tel: 01332 545720