Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) works to protect people with disabilities – including blind and partially sighted people – from discrimination.

Please note that the DDA now only applies in Northern Ireland. England, Scotland and Wales are covered by the Equality Act.

What is the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)?

The DDA came into effect in 1995. It has been amended a number of times since by regulations implemented in Northern Ireland.

Anyone with a disability is protected by the DDA. The DDA defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. This includes significant sight loss.

The types of discrimination it can help you challenge are:

  • direct discrimination (such as a ban on employing blind people)
  • disability related discrimination (for example, a taxi driver refusing to take a blind passenger because they have a guide dog)
  • failure by an organisation to make a reasonable adjustment to allow you access to goods, facilities and services
  • victimisation
  • harassment.

In 2010, the DDA was replaced with the Equality Act in England, Scotland and Wales. The information on this page now only relates to Northern Ireland.

What areas of life does the DDA cover?

The DDA covers key areas of life such as employment and training; education; goods, facilities and services; premises and transport. We have produced a number of factsheets which explore these areas, as well as giving you basic information about the DDA:

Getting help with the DDA and challenging discrimination in Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission is the independent public body that oversees equality and discrimination law in Northern Ireland. It can provide you with advice and promotes equality of opportunity on grounds of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, religious belief or political opinion.

Call 028 90 500 600 (028 90 500 589 if you use a Textphone) or email information@equalityni.org

The Labour Relations Agency

The Labour Relations Agency works to improve employment relations in Northern Ireland. It could help you to resolve employment disputes through its conciliation, mediation and arbitration services.

If you want to enquire about an issue in your workplace, the Agency prefers initial contact by phone, so call the nearest office to you:

  • Belfast on 028 9032 1442
  • or Londonderry / Derry on 028 7126 9639.

RNIB Helpline

Contact us if you are blind or partially sighted and need advice about challenging discrimination you may have experienced. We can also help you if you are calling on behalf of someone with sight loss. Call us on 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk.

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