A smiling man outside the Titanic Belfast museum

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

Coronavirus update

You may find that services you use are affected or delivered differently as a result of coronavirus. The Equality Act 2010 remains in force in England, Scotland and Wales and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland. If you have any questions please call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999, from 8am to 8pm weekdays or 9am to 1pm Saturdays.

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.

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 two factsheets to give you more information on how you are protected under the DDA; one provides a general overview of how the DDA protects your rights, and the other provides more specific information and examples of how you are protected at work and when applying for jobs.

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 [email protected]

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.

Challenging discrimination if you have a guide dog

RNIB and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have produced a toolkit which includes information about your rights and the most effective way to challenge discrimination if you have been refused access to a service because you have a guide dog.

RNIB Sight Loss Advice Service

If you need detailed information or advice about challenging discrimination, our Helpline team can refer you on to our Sight Loss Advice Service. Call 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].