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The law demands that service providers which can mean anything from a business to a public authority take into account the needs of disabled people.

The law asks them this question: Is there a physical feature of their service, or in the way they deliver it, that makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to use it?

So, in the private sector, the most obvious example is the hairdresser who has a business in an inaccessible building, but offers home appointments for some clients.

But accessible services means much more than that. It means phone companies accepting some customers may not be able to read a phone bill in its standard style.

Call centre employees should also be trained in how to spot when a customer on the phone needs some additional assistance, or simply time, in completing their inquiry.

It may mean lowering a counter at a hotel reception. Within hotel rooms themselves, it could mean ensuring menus are available in different formats.

And for banks, it means ensuring their new online services are as useable for someone with impaired sight as for the majority of customers.

Percentage of disabled people who think they were unfairly treated by employers: 42% in 2003


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