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Access For All – Does Your Office Comply?

15 February 2017

Last month Doug Paulley won a Supreme Court case after a dispute with a woman with a buggy over wheelchair space on a bus. Wheelchair user Doug Paulley brought his case after he was refused entry to a bus in 2012, when a mother with a pushchair refused to move. The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which supported Mr Paulley at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, described the latest decision in the case as “a victory for disabled people’s rights”. It has also raised awareness of the issue of access and companies will have to make sure their policies go far enough to avoid substantial disadvantage to wheelchair users. In October 2016 the government published the Green Paper, Improving Lives. Within this they say the aim is to halve the gap between the number of non-disabled people who are employed (80 per cent) and the number of disabled people who are employed (48 per cent). This is of course something that we should definitely be working towards, but do we as companies go far enough to make sure that our offices and work spaces are suitable for those of all abilities? Are you missing out on a wealth of knowledge and talent because people are physically unable to get to or work within your office? When looking at new and existing premises it benefits companies to make sure they are not limiting who they can employ. Surely you simply want the best person for the job? What a shame if the best candidate had to turn down the role because your facilities could not accommodate them.

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