How businesses can make their workplaces more disabled-friendly

Back in 2012, a wheelchair user was refused entry on a bus after a mother with a pushchair refused to move, the Supreme Court has stated that the driver of a bus (and therefore the company) has to do more than merely politely request a person to move

This blog looks at how businesses can become more disabled friendly

Sadly, people continue to shock us with their amazing selfishness and lack of decency. This was demonstrated clearly in a recent Supreme Court ruling.
Mr Paulley, a wheelchair user, was denied access on a bus because a mother had used the space for her pushchair, and refused to give it up. Many headlines have named the bus company and Mr Paulley, but no-one has named and shamed the mother.
Pushchairs fold (most of them anyway) and children can sit on a mother’s lap. The wheelchair user, on the other hand, cannot get on the bus and has to wait for the next one. And if you live in a country area, you will know how long that can be!
The Supreme Court has stated that the driver of a bus has to do more than merely politely request a person to move. They should be very firm and state the person is required to move seats, even stopping the bus for a time to emphasise the request.
There are 6.9 million disabled people of working age in this country, and the Equality Act gives them the right to be able to access goods and services. My question is ‘How disabled-friendly is your company?’.
Dementia is a disability. Training staff to be patient with such customers and help them sort out payments makes life better for them and for those watching. Marks and Spencer is excellent here.
Do you have a hearing loop for deaf and hard of hearing visitors? Are steps clearly marked and is your lighting good for those with sight problems? Does your website meet disabled standards?
Nineteen percent of the population is a huge customer number that will be loyal to you if you make their lives easier. Being a disabled-friendly business pays dividends – literally yours at the end of the year.
Oh, by the way, don’t get us started on people who don’t say thank you!!
For any advice and guidance on making your workplace disabled-friendly, get in touch with The HR Dept

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Ian heads up the HR Dept Edinburgh & the Lothians team. The HR Dept specialises in helping SMEs with everything to with employment, through a local and personal service delivering practical and pragmatic advice and support. With nearly 30 years HR experience, Ian has a wealth of experience in helping businesses to ensure success through their people, be legally compliant and handle tricky people issues. As a business owner himself, Ian understands the challenges that come with running and growing a business. He is known for his ability to explain complex concepts simply and to make learning fun and enjoyable.