The Office for Disability Issues has issued a consultation paper, Improving Protection from Disability Discrimination, and seeks views on how the forthcoming Equality Bill should address disability discrimination in the light of the House of Lords' decision in Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Lewisham v Malcolm.
The Government’s key proposal is to replace the concept of disability-related discrimination with the concept of indirect discrimination as found in other areas of discrimination law.
In Malcolm it was held that for disability-related discrimination a disabled person is compared to a non-disabled person for whom the reason for the less favourable treatment applies. As a result, it has changed the law and made it more difficult for a disabled person to succeed in a disability-related discrimination claim. The grounds for direct discrimination and the duty to make reasonable adjustments would remain unaffected.
The Government believes that introducing indirect discrimination would give disabled people more protection.
Details of the consultation can be found here and responses are invited by 6 January 2009.
(The Office for Disability Issues is a cross-departmental government body set up to help the Government deliver on the commitment made in the report, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People that by 2025 disabled people should have the same opportunities and choices as non-disabled people and be respected and included as equal members of society.)