Equality Act compliance

How the Equality Act impacts professionals, businesses, organisations and service providers for blind and partially sighted people.

About the Equality Act

The Equality Act has strengthened and extended the way people protected against discrimination are safeguarded.

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It sets out the different ways in which it's unlawful to treat someone and makes it clear what you need to do to make your business or organisation's services comply with the law.

How the Equality Act affects your organisation

Under the Act, you have a duty to make reasonable adjustments (or changes) to avoid putting people with disabilities at a substantial disadvantage compared to those who are not disabled. The duty deals with three different requirements.

  1. Provisions, criteria or practices - including company policies.
  2. Physical features, such as the layout of and access to shops.
  3. Provision of auxiliary aids - including providing information in an accessible format such as braille, large print or email.

The duty is anticipatory, which means you cannot wait until a disabled person wants to use your services, but must think in advance (and on an ongoing basis) about what disabled people with a range of impairments might reasonably need; such as people who are blind or partially sighted.

Examples of reasonable adjustments

The following are examples of reasonable adjustments under the three different requirements of the duty.

Example of a reasonable adjustment under the Provisions, criteria or practices requirement:

  • A train operator introduces disability awareness training that includes information about how to interact with blind or partially sighted customers. This is because they received feedback that station staff did not seem to know how to help a blind or partially sighted customer.

Example of a reasonable adjustment under the Physical features requirement:

  • A small shop paints its door frame in a contrasting colour to assist blind or partially sighted customers.

Example of a reasonable adjustment under the Provision of auxiliary aids requirement:

  • A bank provides monthly statements in audio or braille formats for blind or partially sighted customers.

Further information and support

RNIB offer a range of solutions that can be used by your organisation to help you make sure your products and services meet the requirements of the Equality Act. However, there are a number of specialist organisations that can help you further with understanding and complying with the Equality Act.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)

ACAS aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. Visit ACAS' Equality Act section for more in-depth information about the Equality Act.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

EHRC has a statutory remit to promote and monitor human rights; and to protect, enforce and promote equality across the seven "protected" grounds - age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation and gender reassignment. Read EHCR's information about the Equality Act.

The Government Equalities Office (GEO)

GEO provides a series of "Quick Start" guides to help you understand the implications of the Equality Act on your business or organisation.

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