Challenging discrimination using the Equality Act

No one should suffer discrimination because of their sight loss. If you have, you can challenge it in a number of ways, including following the organisation’s complaints procedure, using our Equality Act toolkit or taking legal action.

I think someone has discriminated against me - what can I do?

You can challenge discrimination that you think you've experienced as a result of your sight loss. Remember, however you decide to take your complaint forward, if you refer to the Equality Act 2010 you must be sure that you've been discriminated against because of your sight loss. If you've received poor customer service that isn't a result of being blind or partially sighted, you can still complain but this isn't covered by the Equality Act 2010.

If you think you've been treated unfairly by a service provider

If you think you've been treated unfairly by a service provider, such as a bank or a shop, because of your sight loss, your first step should be to make a complaint. You can make a complaint using the organisation's complaints procedure, or you can write your own complaint using guidance from our Equality Act toolkit. Many disputes can be resolved this way.

If making a complaint doesn't resolve the issue, there are other ways to take your complaint further, including mediation or conciliation. This is where an independent third party helps you and the organisation to settle your dispute. An independent third party may include an Ombudsman.

To find out more about the options available to you, we have further information about using the Equality Act to challenge discrimination in our factsheet and toolkit.

Taking your case to court

Hopefully your complaint letter will get you the result you want, but if it doesn't you might decide to take your case to court. If you would like to do this, you have to start your case within six months less one day from the date of the discrimination. This means that it's best to start your complaint as soon as you can, so that you have enough time to try and resolve the dispute before you have to start court proceedings if you're unable to resolve the issue.

If you think you've been treated unfairly by an employer

If you think you've been treated unfairly by an employer because of your sight loss, your first step is to make a complaint using the employer's grievance procedure. If you decide to do this, then you must make it clear in your grievance that their behaviour or actions are in breach of the Equality Act 2010 (or the Disability Discrimination Act if you're in Northern Ireland).

If after you have followed the grievance procedure, you still don't feel that the issue has been resolved, then you can take your grievance to an Employment Tribunal. You are able to do this in your current employment or if you feel that you didn't get a job because of discrimination. You can also take this action against a former employer. It's important to note that if you do go to an Employment Tribunal, it must be within three months less one day from the date of the discrimination.

We have more information on the Equality Act at work on our rights in employment page and in our factsheet:

  • Equality Act employment factsheet (Word, 406 KB)

Our Legal Rights team can give you further information and advice. Call us on 0303 123 9999 or email legalrights@rnib.org.uk.

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