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Case 134 - Disabled person refused access to charity shop via staff entrance


A person who is disabled with limited mobility asked if he might use the back entrance of a charity shop leading from the carpark which the staff use rather than walk around to the front of the shop (which would take him 10 minutes over uneven ground with several sets of steps). He was told he couldn't 'because of Health and Safety'.

Panel decision

There is no health and safety regulation which would prohibit a shop from allowing a disabled customer to access the shop via a staff entrance, although they would need to consider whether the staff entrance was suitable for disabled access. There are probably good reasons why the shop would not want to provide general access through their staff area, but the shop ought to be able to make reasonable exceptions, to assist a disabled customer.

Once again, it would be helpful if the employer explained the real reasons for poor customer service rather than falling back on the general health and safety excuse.