Website Design – What Are My Obligations Under The UK DDA?
Broadly speaking, the UK DDA makes it unlawful to discriminate against disabled people in the way in which you recruit and employ people; provide services; or provide education. Discrimination can take place in two ways – by treating a disabled person less favorably; and/or by failing to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that disabled people can participate in employment and education or make use of a service.
How Does The UK DDA Apply To Websites?
Websites may be covered under the employment provisions, as they may be a means of advertising jobs; or there may be an intranet which staff need to use. Websites will most commonly be covered when they constitute the provision of a service, or they are related to education (See SENDA).
The UK Disability Discrimination Act
Excerpts from the UK Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and related guidelines relevant to the legal compliance of websites.
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995, Section III
19. – (1) It is unlawful for a provider of services to discriminate against a disabled person-
(a) in refusing to provide, or deliberately not providing, to the disabled person any service which he provides, or is prepared to provide, to members of the public;
(b) in failing to comply with any duty imposed on him by section 21 in circumstances in which the effect of that failure is to make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for the disabled person to make use of any such service;
(c) in the standard of service which he provides to the disabled person or the manner in which he provides it to him; or
(d) in the terms on which he provides a service to the disabled person.
Code of Practice (revised) – Rights of Access Goods, Facilities, Services and premises:
2.17 – It is important to remember that it is the provision of the service which is affected by Part III of the Act and not the nature of the service or business or the type of establishment from which it is provided.
In many cases a service provider is providing a service by a number of different means. In some cases, however, each of those means of service might be regarded as a service in itself and subject to the Act.
[Example]: An airline company provides a flight reservation and booking service to the public on its website. This is a provision of a service and is subject to the Act.