From Equality and Human Rights Commission <[email protected]>
Subject News from EHRC: Guidance for retailers | A decade of equality | Making exams accessible for all
Date September 30, 2020 11:33 AM
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News from the Equality and Human Rights Commission

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September 2020

Infographic showing disabled and older people: outlining
retailers' legal responsibility to provide a service that meets
all customer needs ( [link removed] )

Retailers told to do more to help disabled customers


In response to growing concerns over the accessibility of
supermarkets and retailers ahead of a potential second wave of
restrictions, earlier this month we published new guidance to
help the industry better assist disabled customers during the

The guidance has been sent to CEOs of supermarkets and retail
consortiums alongside a letter from our Chief Executive, Rebecca
Hilsenrath, outlining their legal obligations to help disabled

The new guidance includes four steps and is accompanied by
infographics to ensure retailers are clear on their obligations:

* Provide a service that meets the needs of all customers –
anticipate, prepare and make reasonable adjustments for disabled
* Plan ahead to think about the needs of your disabled customers
– consider and make changes to policies and procedures, as well
as provide extra support and equipment, where necessary.
* Communicate with your customers – inform customers about how
they will be supported through a variety of ways such as easy to
read signs and spoken announcements.
* Train your staff – ensure that staff are supported with the
right tools to help disabled customers, in line with the latest
government guidelines on coronavirus (COVID-19).

On publishing the new guidance, Rebecca Hilsenrath said:

“Shopping has changed for everyone during the pandemic. We’ve
read extraordinary stories of the efforts made by retailers and
by voluntary groups to provide help where it was needed.
Nevertheless, a task which already carried particular challenges
and barriers for disabled people has become almost impossible for

“We have heard of a range of concerns, from long queues with no
rest places, to lack of awareness about particular health
conditions that mean people are exempt from wearing a
mask. Coronavirus has exposed some of the worst inequalities in
our society and disabled people are facing particular hardship.

“No matter what decisions and actions are made, all retailers
have a legal duty to abide by equality law. It is essential that
disabled people are not left behind as retailers continue to meet
the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.”

Read the guidance ( [link removed] )

Photo of Caroline Waters with the heading: Ten years of the
Equality Act - what has it achieved? ( [link removed] )

A decade of the Equality Act 2010


October 1st marks ten years since the Equality Act 2010 came into
force. The Equality Act 2010 cemented Britain’s reputation as a
world leader on equality. It strengthened and extended
protections for minority groups and unified anti-discrimination
law in one place.

The Act brought together over 116 separate pieces of legislation
into one Act, providing clarity for us all on the protections we
can expect when at work, in education, accessing services, taking
transport and really just living our day-to-day lives. It covers
everyone in Britain and protects people from discrimination,
harassment and victimisation.

Despite significant progress, many people remain disadvantaged in
Britain today and there is room for improvement. Whilst we know
the journey is far from over, we’re proud of how far Britain has
come to protect people from discrimination. From equal pay to
same sex marriage, hard won rights have changed the way people
can live their lives for the better and the Equality Act played
an important role in cementing that progress.

Throughout October we'll be marking the anniversary of the Act by
explaining some of the protections it provides and highlighting
some landmark legal cases on our social channels - follow the
hashtag #EqualityAct10 to find out more and join in the

Ahead of the anniversary our Interim Chair Caroline Waters spoke
to D & I Leaders alongside other experts to reflect on what has
been achieved over the last decade and where next for equality.

Read more ( [link removed] )

Woman looking at computer screen ( [link removed] )

Free webinar: Where next for equality at work?

Caroline will be continuing the conversation on the impact of
the Equality Act and where next for progress on equality and
diversity on 14th October with a free webinar hosted by D & I
Leaders. She'll be joined by a expert panel of Mark Lomas (HS2),
Paul McFarlane (Capsticks), Pauline Miller (Lloyd's) and Prof Sue
Yeandle (CIRCLE).

Book now ( [link removed] )

Image of new guidance: Managing and supporting employees
experiencing domestic abuse ( [link removed] )

New guidance to help employers support domestic abuse victims


Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has seen increased reports of
domestic abuse, recent research by the CIPD has found that less
than a quarter of employees are aware of what, if any, support
they can get from their employer if they experience domestic

We have worked with the CIPD to publish new guidance for
employers ( [link removed] ) on how to recognise and support staff who are experiencing
domestic abuse. We are now calling on all organisations to take a
more active role in supporting those experiencing domestic abuse
by having a well-publicised policy and framework of support in
place and proactively making staff aware of the help that is

With more people working from home or facing restrictions on
their interactions with others as a result of the pandemic,
escape routes or time apart from an abuser may be dramatically
curtailed. As a result, employers need to further consider the
support they can offer to anyone experiencing domestic abuse.

Employers are not asked to ‘solve’ the problem, but to enable
their employees to access professional support. Our new guide,
Managing and supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse,
sets out a four-step framework of what employer support could
look like:

1. Recognising the problem
2. Responding appropriately to disclosure
3. Providing support
4. Referring to appropriate help

We are also joining CIPD in backing UN Women’s call for employers
to offer ten days of paid leave to anyone experiencing domestic
abuse, which could go a long way to supporting an individual if
they are struggling to do their work or need to access essential

Read the guidance ( [link removed] )

Image of Caroline Waters

Employers taking action on domestic abuse saves lives and jobs

EHRC Interim Chair Caroline Waters explains that when employers
take action on and respond to domestic abuse, it can save lives
and jobs. The workplace can be a sanctuary from abuse at home or
a safe place to turn to for support but if employers wait for
something to happen, they’ve waited too long already.

Read more ( [link removed] )

Image of discrimination law books

Grammar schools warned not to discriminate against disabled

Ahead of this year's 11+ entry exams, we have written to all
grammar schools in England to warn them not to discriminate
against disabled children. The warning comes following a
successful legal challenge by a disabled child, which we funded.

The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has a vision
impairment and an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
specifying the adjustments he needs in school. Despite this, he
was unable to sit an entry exam to a Berkshire grammar school
when the adjustments weren’t made.

The boy’s parents applied for him to take the 11+ entry exam for
Reading School but accepted an offer for him to sit the exam at a
different school, which was closer to home, but was also part of
the Slough Consortium of Grammar Schools. The day before the
exam, the school said they couldn’t make the adjustments that had
been requested, including larger fonts on the exam paper, saying
they would cost in excess of £2,000.

The case was referred to us by the Royal National Institute of
Blind People (RNIB) through our advice for advisors helpline ( [link removed] ). RNIB Connect Radio has produced a programme exploring the
implications of this case for other disabled children.

Listen to find out more ( [link removed] )

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