The government has today announced that it will be extending the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to include:
• increased protection for people with cancer (the quoted example being people in remission from cancer, who may not fall within the definition of a disabled person);
• removing some of the excluded sectors from the Act, such as police, firemen and prison officers. It will also cover barristers(!), pupil barristers and employees on board ships, aeroplanes or hovercrafts;
• a legal duty on public bodies to provide equal opportunities for disabled persons;
• persons registered as partially sighted being DEEMED to be disabled (and not having to come within the normal definition);
• abolition of the 'small employer' exemption by October 2004 (employers with less than 15 employees are currently excluded from the DDA). Nnote that the EC Equal Treatment Framework Directive requires the small-employer exemption to be abolished by December 2006 - thus the proposals go slightly further than the government's obligations.