Social distancing for Coronavirus can present extra challenges for people who stammer, as regards both employment and services. How might the Equality Act apply? See Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Another issue is that courts are moving to more telephone and video hearings due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19). How this impacts on stammering and other disabilities should be taken into account. See Courts and Coronavirus.
Questionnaire for NHS workers and moves towards an NHS stammering network added at Employment stammering networks>NHS.
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) updated, including for
- its influence on UK law through the European Convention of Human Rights, and
- 2018 report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission reporting “little progress” since the UK underwent a CRPD examination process in 2017.
The courts take the ‘Vento bands’ into account in deciding the amount of compensation for injury to feelings. These bands have just been updated for employment tribunal claims brought on or after 6th April 2020. See Remedies in employment disputes>Injury to feelings: the ‘Vento bands’.
Police and prisons
Major update of pages on Human Rights Act 1998 and European Convention on Human Rights. Some of the new or substantially revised sections are:
- Where may Convention rights increase Equality Act protection?
- Human rights and provision of services – the Convention could help counter an argument that one has to use friends and family to make a phone call, for example. The Convention also supports personal autonomy.
- Reasonable adjustments under the Convention
- How robustly can the court test any proposed ‘justification’ defence under Article 14 (discrimination). Is it just whether the justification is “manifestly without reasonable foundation” or is it a more rigorous test?
- As regards education, Article 14 covers higher education as well as schools.
Also new cases on the Convention added:
- JD and A v United Kingdom, ECtHR, 2019 – on the bedroom tax, saying that “very weighty reasons” were required to justify disability discrimination, although UK courts may not necessarily follow this.
- Enver Şahin v Turkey, ECtHR, 2018 – a university in Turkey was in breach of Article 14 for not adjusting a university building to make it accessible for a paraplegic student. Rejecting the option of a personal assistant in this case, the court stressed the importance of personal autonomy.
- Çam v Turkey, ECtHR, 2016 – it was a breach of Article 14 to reject a blind applicant from a specialist music college with no attempt to consider reasonable adjustments.
- LH Bishop v Commissioners of Revenue and Customs, First-tier Tribunal (Tax), 2013 – there was held to be unlawful discrimination under Article 14 where business owners who could not use a computer because of their disability were required to submit VAT returns online. The case seems relevant to whether people who stammer should be expected to use family or friends to speak for them.
Previous updates: Website updates January to February 2020.